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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The LDS Newsroom Blog Shares News Stories From Other Countries

The LDS Newsroom Blog shared this article, which contained links to many news stories from other countries. These stories were very intriguing to read. Check them out! Thanks.

What happens when a prophet steps back from active service?

I realize that among those who regularly read my blog, there may be some who are too young to remember the last time a prophet stepped back from active service (which was true for both President Spencer W. Kimball and his successor, President Ezra Taft Benson). I was one who was too young to see it happen with President Kimball, and barely old enough to comprehend it happening during President Benson's tenure, but I read extensively about it in old Ensigns, which my parents kept in the basement. I thought it might be somewhat illustrative for some of you if I posted more about what has been done in the past, and about some of the options the Church has in light of President Monson stepping back from his duties. Most of what follows are my own words. Where possible, I include paraphrased thoughts from others that fit the bill much better, in my opinion. Here is what I put together in that regard:

Prophetic Decline—Latest Examples: Presidents Kimball and Benson

This will be an overview of the subject of prophetic decline due to health, old age, or both. Before President Monson became Church President, the previous examples of that were President Spencer W. Kimball and his successor in the Presidency, Ezra Taft Benson.

First, let’s talk about President Kimball. In 1981, he recognized his declining health and that of his counselors (Tanner and Romney). As a result, he called President Hinckley as a counselor. By 1982, took less active role except for decisions requiring his approval. Starting in 1981, he scaled back his conference speaking and appearances. He wrote two talks for April 1982; one was read by his personal secretary D. Arthur Haycock (during the Saturday Morning Session), and a brief, one paragraph talk which he stood to give, his last public appearance. For April 1985, a video was shown during the Priesthood Session featuring extracts of previous Priesthood Session addresses President Kimball had given. He died on November 5, 1985, four years after his decline began and 3.5 years after stepping back from an active role in Church leadership.

As noted above, President Tanner was declining in health as well. His General Conference speaking was limited to a maximum of two addresses in the April 1980 General Conference (one of which was leading out in the Sustaining of Church Officers), and to one address per conference during the final five General Conferences during which he lived. In October 1980, he spoke briefly after President Kimball’s address opening the Conference (the address was just over 2.5 minutes). In April 1981, President Tanner was the second speaker during the Sunday Morning Session (giving a talk that was just over 6 minutes). The following October, President Tanner closed the conference with an address that (again, in a talk that was just over 6 minutes). In April 1982, President Tanner preceded President Kimball’s final address with a talk just short of 5 minutes. And six months later, just short of two months before his death, President Tanner gave his last General Conference talk, closing out that conference with another talk under 5 minutes.

President Romney held out slightly better than Presidents Kimball or Tanner. Though not in great health, he was able to push through to fill a semi-active role in First Presidency, giving multiple addresses in General Conference until about the time that President Tanner passed away, and wasn’t able to participate too much after his call as First Counselor to President Kimball. The last address President Romney wrote for delivery in General Conference was read in the April 1983 General Conference was read at his request by his son George J. during the Saturday Morning Session. Though rarely seen in public by the time of President Kimball’s passing in 1985, President Romney, being junior to President Ezra Taft Benson, was, by virtue of apostolic seniority, named the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Because his health was not good, Elder Howard W. Hunter served as the Acting President to provide active leadership in the quorum for President Romney’s tenure, which spanned just over 2.5 years.

With the day-to-day responsibility of First Presidency matters falling to President Hinckley as the only active member of that body, he turned to President Benson as the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to help him with things, as per Church policy and procedure. President Benson was very loyal to President Hinckley during this time, which was not a surprise, as President Hinckley was his junior in the apostleship but his senior in terms of his sole active role in the Quorum of the First Presidency. Starting in April 1983, President Benson assisted President Hinckley with his General Conference responsibilities, including leading out in the Sustaining of Church Officers as requested, and giving two talks per conference, which took place as follows:
April 1983: As noted above, led out in the Sustaining of Church Officers. Preceded President Hinckley’s closing address during the Priesthood Session, and was the first speaker during the Sunday Morning Session
October 1983: Gave the second actual address during the Saturday Morning Session (following President Hinckley’s talk, which itself had followed President Hinckley’s shortened version of the Sustaining of Church Officers) and preceded again President Hinckley’s concluding remarks during the Priesthood Session.
April 1984: Was the second to speak during the Saturday Morning Session (following President Hinckley’s combined Sustaining of Church Officers and first address) and again preceded President Hinckley’s concluding remarks during the Priesthood Session.
October 1984: The same as April 1984.
April 1985: Once again, was the second to speak during the Saturday Morning Session (following President Hinckley’s combined opening address, Sustaining of Church Officers, and review of a then new policy of having area presidencies serve on site within the US and internationally). Spoke this time at the beginning of the Priesthood Session.
October 1985: Again spoke directly after President Hinckley’s opening remarks (although the Sustaining of Church Officers was delayed during this conference until the top of the Sunday Afternoon Session), and again was the first speaker during the Priesthood Session.

President Benson’s declining years:
President Benson was fully active and functional for the first few years of his presidency, but starting in 1989, scaled back his public appearances and General Conference addresses for the last five years of his presidency. Thankfully, both of his counselors, Presidents Hinckley and Monson, were fully able to function during this time (though each had minor health issues that were dealt with during this time, including minor hospitalizations and procedures), and they alternated both an increase in addresses and responsibilities during this time. As a result of President Benson’s condition, the following was done in terms of General Conferences:
April 1989: President Benson asked President Hinckley to read his still-remembered address about pride being a universal sin and a horrible vice at the top of the Saturday Morning Session, and President Monson to read his address directed to the children of the Church at the close of the Sunday Afternoon Session. Both counselors spoke during the Priesthood and Sunday Morning Sessions.
October 1989: President Benson asked President Monson to read his address directed to the elderly members of the Church. Both counselors spoke during the Priesthood and Sunday Morning Sessions. At President Benson’s request, President Hinckley closed the Sunday Afternoon Session not by reading an address for him, but by using his own words to assure Church members that the Lord did, was, and would continue to direct His work even in the wake of a prophet’s decline.
April 1990: Presidents Hinckley and Monson both spoke during the Priesthood and Sunday Morning Sessions. At President Benson’s request and with his consent, President Monson opened the conference and President Hinckley closed it with addresses that quoted many of President Benson’s prior teachings.
October 1990: Same as above, but President Hinckley opened the conference and President Monson closed it, again with addresses quoting previous teachings by President Benson.
April 1991: No different from April 1990.
October 1991: No different from October 1990.
April 1992: Same as the previous two Aprils.
October 1992: Same as the previous two Octobers.
April 1993: Similar to the past three Aprils, but the counselors shared updates about President Benson’s health, conveyed his love and concern for the Church and its members, and made it more clear that the words of President Benson they were sharing were as requested and directed by him.
October 1993: This conference was somewhat different, and more like they have been for us since 2015. The conference began with the Sustaining of Church Officers by President Hinckley, saw both counselors speak during the Priesthood and Sunday Morning Sessions, and neither counselor giving an actual address at either the opening or concluding sessions of conference.
April 1994: The final conference during which President Benson was Church President. The conference featured the Sustaining of Church Officers in its traditional slot at the top of the Saturday Afternoon Session, with both counselors again speaking during the Priesthood and Sunday Morning Session. At President Benson’s request, President Monson closed the conference with a benedictory address using his (President Monson’s) own words. As both counselors were able to speak when President Benson couldn’t during these years, the only different thing is that more General Authorities spoke during this conference to compensate for the absence of a formal message directed by or using President Benson’s previous counsel.

President Monson:
At this point, President Monson is older than both Presidents Kimball and Benson were when their active role in day-to-day Church operations ended. And President Monson will have lived longer than President Kimball if he is still alive in March 2018. And if, by 2022, President Monson is still living (which may be possible, as both Presidents Kimball and Benson lived several years without being actively involved in day-to-day Church business), he will have lived longer than President Benson. And President Monson also had several more years of active service as Church President than either of the other two prior to when he started scaling back his role. Here is a timeline of significant notes on President Monson’s presidency:
2008-2010: Functioned fully as Church President, including presiding at every temple dedication or rededication, conducting 3 of the 5 general sessions of conference, and speaking 4-5 times during General Conference (4 talks in the general sessions, and once every three conferences at the General RS/YW Meeting); last conducted a General Conference session in April 2010.
October 2010-present: Delegated responsibility of conducting General Conference sessions to his counselors.
2011-2014: Alternated with his counselors in presiding at temple dedications and rededications (including having Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, preside at the dedication of the temple for his native Brigham City Utah).
2013: A change is made to include other General Authorities in the annual Christmas Devotional; President Monson’s last address in such a devotional.
2014-present: Has delegated temple dedications and rededications entirely to his counselors. (Though three of the six dedications done during 2016 were presided over by three of the six senior apostles); continued to give 4 or 5 General Conference talks every six months; last spoke in the General Relief Society meeting in October 2013; has had his counselors alternate speaking duties since then for the RS/YW meeting, and, since 2014, in the General Women’s Meeting, which was designated as an official General Conference session in October that same year.
2015-2017: President Monson only speaks twice in each General Conference. He asks his counselors to take turns speaking in the General Women’s Session and being the first speaker in the Saturday Morning Session or the last one during the Sunday Morning Session.
2015: For each of the General Conferences held, the two addresses he gave took a total around half an hour.
2016-2017: For each of the three General Conferences held during this time, the two addresses he gave in together totaled just under 10 minutes.
2016: At the invitation of the First Presidency, Elder M. Russell Ballard serves as Grand Marshall of the annual Days of ’47 KSL Parade (for Utah’s pioneer day), marking the first year in a long time that a First Presidency member did not do so.
April 2017: President Monson only attends three of the six General Conference sessions. An article on the website of the LDS Church News notes that President Eyring presided at the other three sessions, while the conference edition of the Ensign, for the first time in many years, does not list that information. This General Conference marks the first time President Monson speaks at the beginning of the Priesthood Session rather than the end of it.
Tuesday May 23, 2017: The Church announced President Monson would no longer actively participate in meetings, decisions, or deliberations of the leading brethren, leaving the day-to-day operations of the Church to the other 14 apostles. He will be consulted on any major decisions requiring his approval, but will no longer take an active role. This was verified by the recent report that President Monson did not participate at all in the recent Seminar for New Mission Presidents.
Friday June 30, 2017: President Monson’s tenure length makes him the 8th longest serving Church President.
Monday August 21, 2017: President Monson’s 90th birthday (no word yet on whether or not there will be a public celebration of this milestone)
Saturday September 23 & 30 & October 1: 187th Semiannual General Conference

Speaking of the upcoming General Conference (and this also applies to any other that may occur during whatever remains of President Monson’s life), it is unknown at present how the above-mentioned announcement may impact President Monson’s ability to speak for a few minutes in the Priesthood and Sunday Morning Sessions. I have inquired with the Church about that very question. If he is not able to, past precedent indicates a few possibilities for what might happen:
1.      Other speakers in the session will take up those few minutes, including an additional speaker or two if needed.
2.      A counselor in the First Presidency, a member of President Monson’s family, or his personal secretary could read an address from him containing either new counsel or quotations from previous addresses he has given, including announcing any new temples, which would be done with President Monson’s permission.
3.      President Nelson, as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, could be asked to give a second address at some point, perhaps during the Priesthood Session.

In considering what might happen in October, I would also like to mention one other thing. Elder Hales also did not speak during the Mission President’s Seminar. He has missed previous General Conferences, so it is possible he might not speak this October either. Until more is known, my predictions for next General Conference have President Monson and Elder Hales speaking back-to-back at the top of the Sunday Morning Session. If neither can speak at all this conference, obviously that will change things, and anywhere from 1-3 other speakers could take that time.

For now, that is what my study on the subject of past precedent in this situation has involved. While there are general guidelines and past precedents to ensure the work of the Church can continue unhindered and without interruption during the declining years of a Church president, one thing is sure: any call for President Monson to “retire” or be granted some kind of emeritus status is not the Lord’s way, and the same holds true for all other apostles and prophets. Anyone perpetuating those ideas is not under the direction or influence of the spirit of the Lord. There is, as noted many times previously, a reason why Church doctrine and practice has been, is, and always will be for all apostles and Church Presidents to serve until death. The only other way out of the apostleship is being disfellowshipped or excommunicated, and that has not happened in this Church since 1943. Though President Monson, Elder Hales, and perhaps one or two others may be struggling with issues of illness and old age, to a man, each of our current 15 apostles are righteous men that have lived lives in harmony with God’s will and have absolutely been prepared and foreordained prior to this life for the apostleship.

Some of our current apostles will live to succeed President Monson. Others will pass away. And the Lord has, does, and will continue to guide how and when such apostolic transitions occur. It is our solemn duty to sustain these brethren. Our opportunity to sustain them was, is, and always will be a time to silently voice our support for them. Unless anyone knows of any grievous transgressions on the part of any of these 15 men, it is a sacred obligation to sustain them. To adapt statements previously made by Church presidents Brigham Young and Gordon B. Hinckley, and doctrines taught by then-Elder Nelson in October 2014, and Elder Bednar one year later, anyone who asserts or implies that these men are guilty of great or malignant sins, or who assert that they are unrighteous, “out of touch”, “too old for the job” or “should be released from active service, or who organizes efforts meant to vocally express opposition to sustaining these men, while failing to make the effort as invited to resolve such concerns through proper channels, are not being moved upon by the spirit of God, and are on the high road to apostasy. And if they do not repent, they will eventually apostatize as surely as God lives.


In my opinion, (as I continue to paraphrase statements made in the above-mentioned addresses), the beauty of having men of maturity at the head is that they will not be blown about by every wind of doctrine. And the fact is, were it not for being asked to serve until their dying breaths, we would have missed out on so many sermons from good men seasoned by years of experience. Those are not my words, but as surely as I know God lives, I know they are true. The Lord has, is now, and will continue to control how the leadership of His Church changes hands, and, for my part, I am content to leave it in His hands. Just as the origins of this Church are divine, so is the process by which the leadership thereof changes at His will. Of these things I gratefully testify in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Unit Changes Noted

Hello, all! In the last week or so, several changes in Church units have taken place, both in terms of new units created and other units discontinued. I will not analyze these developments, as I am not good at doing so. But you can be sure to find such an analysis on the LDS Church Growth Blog, either already posted or soon to be added. You can also find a list of those changes here. Thanks to you all for your ongoing interest and support.

Temple Construction Progress Update

Hello, all! I have made some minor but significant changes to my temple construction progress report. Even though the Winnipeg temple is anticipated to be completed within 20 months or so from whenever construction formally begins, until it is underway, I have felt it wise to adjust the numbering on a few temples. Once that happens, I will make any subsequent changes that may be needed. I have also adjusted the wording on the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple. Hope you enjoy reading these updates. I welcome any feedback about this. Thanks for the privilege of your time. Here is that report.

Temple Construction Progress Update (current as of 7/25/17)

NOTE: There will be a total of 182 operating temples once all of those under construction or announced are dedicated. Of those, we currently have 156 temples in operation; 1 other will be dedicated next month (after the traditional July recess for the General Authorities); 2 more have construction concluding and a dedication scheduled for later this year; 9 are in various stages of construction; 1 other has construction pending (groundbreaking was last year), and earnest work will hopefully start on that within the next month or so); 1 has a groundbreaking scheduled (set for later this year); 2 are undergoing renovation (with completion anticipated next year); another 4 have a renovation closure date set for later this year, with 5 others set to close early next year (the actual dates will be set closer to the time); the remaining 12 are announced (with either a site announcement or groundbreaking pending).

NOTE ON FUTURE TEMPLES: Elder Larry Y. Wilson, who serves as the Executive Director of the Temple Department, indicated in a recent interview that the Church has around 85 temple sites that are under active consideration for an announcement within the next 15 years or so. If that is true, then that would take the number of temples in any phase to just under 270 by 2032. And if that is true, then whether or not the Church makes it an official goal to do so, it is more than likely that there could be a minimum of 200 temples dedicated by or before the Church’s 200th anniversary on April 6, 2030, whether or not the Church makes that an official goal. All it would take to do so is 18 more being announced, and each of them, along with the 26 either under construction or announced, to be completed within the next 12 years and 9 months, which is doable if 3 or 4 are dedicated per year between now and then. As there are 3 others scheduled for dedication before the end of this year, with 5 set for next year, and up to 5 the year following, the Church seems to be on track for that. Subsequent versions of this report will continue to share developments as they occur.

Preparing for dedication:
157. Tucson Arizona Temple: Preparing for dedication, which is scheduled for Sunday August 13, 2017.

Construction nearing completion; dedication scheduled:
158. Meridian Idaho Temple: Interior finish work underway; sod laid and trees planted; dedication scheduled for Sunday November 19, 2017.
159. Cedar City Utah Temple: Installing art glass; laying sod; dedication scheduled for Sunday December 10, 2017.
                                                      
Under Construction (completion anticipated within the next 1-2 years):
160. Rome Italy Temple: Interior and exterior work progressing; installing art glass windows; completion anticipated sometime during mid-2018.
161. Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple: Exterior brickwork completed; attaching purlins to roof trusses and strengthening truss connectors; completion anticipated sometime during mid-to-late 2018.
162.  Barranquilla Colombia Temple: Stone cladding underway on the south wall; completion anticipated sometime during late 2018.
163. Durban South Africa Temple: Applying waterproofing membrane to temple exterior walls; installing basement stairs; laying brick at missionary housing; top of elevator shaft poured; completion anticipated sometime during late 2018.
164. Concepcion Chile Temple: Cladding nearly complete on north and south walls; progressing around base of steeple; completion anticipated sometime during late 2018-early 2019.

Under construction, completion anticipated within the next 2-3 years:  
165. Fortaleza Brazil Temple: Tower base walls poured; scaffolding removed; completion anticipated sometime during early-to-mid 2019.
166. Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple: Preparing to pour footings for foundation; surrounding property being cleared and graded; completion anticipated sometime during mid-2019.
NOTE: In the midst of other changes that have been needed for this report, I also took another look at the question of whether this temple or the Winnipeg Manitoba Temple might be finished first. In doing so, I discovered that until formal construction begins in Winnipeg and that process verifies that Winnipeg will be finished first, it would be wiser to reverse them again.
167.  Lisbon Portugal Temple: Pouring temple foundation walls; preparing meetinghouse for exterior cladding; completion anticipated sometime during late 2019.
NOTE: Until construction is officially underway on the Winnipeg Manitoba temple, I have felt it wise to renumber this temple. As soon as that happens and once more is known about its progress, I will reorder this temple again.
168. Arequipa Peru Temple: Foundation walls poured; completion anticipated sometime during late 2019-early 2020.
NOTE: As with the Lisbon temple, I have reordered this temple until construction is officially underway on the Winnipeg temple. Based on how quickly that temple might progress, I will make any future adjustments that are needed.

Construction pending (anticipated to start anytime):
169. Winnipeg Manitoba Temple: Groundbreaking held Saturday December 3, 2016; awaiting full-scale operations; acquiring building permits; completion anticipated sometime during mid-2019.
NOTE: Until construction officially commences on this temple, it has felt like a good idea to change its number. Once work is actually underway, I will change the number to match its estimated completion. I still am convinced that this temple will not be dedicated until after the dedication of the Rio temple, but time will tell.

Groundbreaking scheduled:
170. Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple: Preparing for groundbreaking ceremony, which is scheduled for Saturday October 28, 2017; dedication may follow sometime during mid-to-late 2020.
NOTE: The First Presidency made the groundbreaking announcement for this temple on July 13, 2017, noting that Elder Walter F. Gonzalez, who presides over the Caribbean area, will preside at this groundbreaking. In the interim, I found out that this temple will be much smaller than its other Caribbean counterpart, so it seems reasonable to assume that this temple could have a dedication prior to the end of 2020. As with everything else, I am keeping an eye out for developments and will pass along any updates as I receive them.

Undergoing Renovation (rededication anticipated within the next year or so):
20. Jordan River Utah Temple: Closed for renovation; rededication anticipated sometime during mid-2018.
NOTE: Though this temple’s renovation has been ongoing since its closure in February 2016, and while the rededication had been anticipated at some point during 2017, as the renovation process has continued, those estimates have been altered again and again, until this most recent revision of that time-frame. This event could happen at any point in the middle of the year, or it could be pushed back again. More information will come as more is known.
41. Frankfurt Germany Temple: Closed for renovation; baptismal font support walls poured in basement addition; rededication anticipated sometime during mid-2018.
NOTE: This temple, closed since September of 2015, was also anticipated to be completed and rededicated at some point prior to the end of 2017. As with the Jordan River temple, that completion estimate has been pushed back repeatedly. Until more is known, it is anyone’s guess when this rededication might happen. I will pass along any updates as I receive them.

Renovations Scheduled (official closure dates announced):
80. Memphis Tennessee Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation on September 29, 2017; rededication may take place sometime during early-to-mid 2019.
NOTE: While this temple is a comparatively smaller one (from the Hinckley era), I also learned on July 5 that this renovation will be altering both the exterior and interior appearance of the temple. Those plans may or may not involve an expansion. The opinions on what will happen in that regard are so different that it will take time to settle the question. Once more is known, I will pass that along.
18. Tokyo Japan Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation on September 29, 2017; rededication may take place sometime during early-to-mid 2020.
NOTE: This temple, constructed as part of President Kimball’s smaller temple design, is anticipated to be rededicated sometime in 2020. If the news release about this renovation is any indication, no expansion is in the works. Adjustments will be made as the process gets underway. For now, I wanted to also note that the stated purpose for this renovation is primarily to upgrade electrical and mechanical systems and bring the temple up-to-code. With that in mind, I also learned in early July that the completion of this temple will most likely be sooner than I originally thought, as it is comparatively smaller.
95. Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation on October 14, 2017; rededication may take place sometime during early-to-mid 2019.
NOTE: In an earlier version of this report, I had indicated that an expansion of this temple didn’t seem likely, as information available to me at that time pointed to the current temple taking up the entire area of the lot. On July 18, I learned I might be getting this temple and Memphis confused. I am trying to iron all of that out, and will pass along whatever I find out. Until more is known, I will not be altering my completion estimate.
112. Asuncion Paraguay Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation on October 29, 2017; rededication may take place sometime during early-to-mid 2019.
NOTE: As noted in previous versions of this report, I had the closure date for this temple off by a month. I regret that misinformation. In the meantime, I did some study on whether or not this temple might be expanded. On July 16, I found that this temple may have room to expand. Whether or not expansion will happen, until more is known, I have felt it wiser to stick to my completion estimate.

Temples that have a renovation closure announced, but no official date made known yet:
68. Raleigh North Carolina Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation in January 2018; rededication may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2019.
NOTE: On July 16, while studying scheduled renovations, I learned two things: this temple is on a large enough plot of land that expansion may be possible and even feasible. That said, the Saints in North Carolina (according to one of my contacts) were told that an expansion is not in the renovation plans for this temple. It is possible but perhaps unlikely. More to come once more is known, including any change of the completion estimate.
94. Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation in February 2018; rededication may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2019.
NOTE: My study on this temple (which I conducted on July 16) indicates that there may be room on this temple lot to expand the edifice. The question is whether or not the Church will choose to do so. I will keep an eye on developments and pass things along as I learn of them. For now, the question cannot be settled.
13. Oakland California Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation in February 2018; rededication may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2019.
NOTE: This renovation and the one below were announced in February of 2017. In the interim, the Church has scheduled 7 other renovations around those two. This temple is older, so the renovation will likely take longer. But I am not ruling out other possibilities. We also know that the primary purpose of this renovation is to upgrade mechanical and electrical systems and bring them up to code. So I don’t think expansion is in the plans for this temple.
16. Washington D. C. Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation in March 2018; rededication may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2020.
NOTE: This is another older temple where the purpose of the renovation is to upgrade electrical and mechanical systems and bring them up to code. An expansion doesn’t seem likely. It is a larger temple, so the renovation will likely take longer. That reinforces the idea that the completion timeframe above will be spot on.
7. Mesa Arizona Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation in May 2018; rededication may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2020.
NOTE: The purpose of this renovation is to upgrade electrical and mechanical systems and bring them up to code. This temple has been renovated before, which reinforces the idea that there may be less to update here than for Washington DC. Until more is known, it is my feeling that this temple will likely be rededicated first.

NOTE ON FUTURE GROUNDBREAKINGS: During the month of July, I revised the order in which temples in this section were listed. About a week after doing so, I found out that I needed to revise and rethink that order again. The current order reflects the latest information I have (as of the late night hours of July 18). I should also note that the timing of any temple event is up to the Lord (based on conditions in each area), so these estimates should not in any way be taken as gospel or official until they are confirmed or denied by those who have the authorization to do so.

Announced:
171. Lima Peru Los Olivos Temple: Planning and preliminary construction phase; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking could take place sometime during early-to-mid 2018.
NOTE: With the recent news that preconstruction for this temple began in March 2017, it is not hard to believe that a groundbreaking could take place in short order once 2018 starts. But as we also know that the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple had its groundbreaking unexpected announced in mid-July (being set for the end of October), that opens up the possibility that this temple could be another that could either have its groundbreaking just before that for Port-au-Prince (as there is a precedent for such things) or within the remaining two months of 2017. If that doesn’t happen, then this temple will likely be the first to have a groundbreaking during 2018.
172. Harare Zimbabwe Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking could take place during early-to-mid 2018.
NOTE: Though nothing has happened with this temple since Elder Hamilton stated that a site announcement and groundbreaking would take place in short order at some point prior to the end of 2017, and though that seemed to provide a sufficient reason to downgrade this temple to sometime in 2018 or 2019, in reevaluating things in mid-July, I determined that it would be wiser to move this temple back to this spot. There is an outside chance that this temple could have a groundbreaking at some point during the 4 months or so left in 2017, but that doesn’t seem probable. Anything is possible, though. I will keep an eye out for developments and pass those along as I find out more, along with any other adjustments.
173. Urdaneta Philippines Temple: Planning and approval phase; awaiting government approval and official site announcement; groundbreaking could take place sometime during mid-2018.
NOTE: While previous versions of this report had downgraded this temple to being among the last of the current bunch to have a groundbreaking, the end of delays preventing progress on this temple’s construction mean that a site announcement and groundbreaking may be simply a matter of time. That being the case, as noted in so many previous versions of this report, some have speculated a groundbreaking for this temple may take place prior to the end of 2017. But it seems more likely that it may wait until around this time. As always, with these being no more than my own thoughts based on the facts I have right now, they are subject to change as things develop. I will make any further changes that might be needed as that becomes necessary.
174. Saratoga Springs Utah: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking may take place sometime during mid-2018.
NOTE: On July 18, 2017, I learned some things that convinced me to take another look at the order in which these announced temples are listed. That more extensive research led me to conclude that this temple may get started closer to the average time in which Utah temples have gone from an announcement to a groundbreaking. So I ran those numbers, which now has me convinced that this temple’s groundbreaking may be sooner than I had originally projected. This change will be reflected on my timeline for future temple-related events.
175. Brasilia Brazil Temple: Planning phase; site inspected by Church engineers on June 21, 2017; groundbreaking may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2018.
NOTE: As noted above, new information received on July 18, 2017 led to my rethinking this entire section. Particularly, I found out that the site inspection is not indicative of an imminent groundbreaking like I thought it might be. While it is still likely that this temple will have a groundbreaking prior to the end of 2018, it will likely be more towards the end of the year than the beginning, contrary to what I had thought and reported. This seems like a safe change for the moment. If the Lord surprises us and sets a groundbreaking for this temple sooner than estimated here, I will move it up on this list at that time.
176. Greater Manila Philippines Temple: Planning phase; site confirmed; awaiting official name announcement; groundbreaking may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2018.
NOTE: This is another temple that has already had a site confirmed, but that will likely not have a groundbreaking as soon as I had thought and asserted that would happen. Having been advised that temples announced in April 2017 might have at least a year between the site announcement and the groundbreaking, this seems to be a safe and sound adjustment.  As always, once the Lord or the leaders of His Church reveal more about any temple, that new information will be reflected on future reports. For now, that is an update from what I have previously reported. And we are also still waiting to see if and when a more official name might be announced for this temple. I will report on all developments as I become aware of them.
177. Pocatello Idaho: Planning phase; awaiting site confirmation; groundbreaking may take place sometime during early 2019.
NOTE: While it is true that temples in the “Mormon corridor” of Idaho, Utah and Arizona generally get started well in advance of their international counterparts, I learned on July 18, 2017 that some temples on this list needed to be moved (some up, and some down). I also learned that Idaho temples have kept to a general average time-frame from announcement to groundbreaking, and by changing the estimate for this temple, it corresponds more fully to that average.
178. Nairobi Kenya Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; media event held June 14, 2017; groundbreaking may take place sometime during early 2019.
NOTE: As I have considered the media event held last month, I have determined it wiser to assume that a groundbreaking for this temple will happen sooner rather than later. It seems apparent now that this temple will not be the last of those currently announced to have a groundbreaking, as I had originally thought and stated. So it seems wise to make that adjustment. As always, once more information is available, I will go from there.
179. Bangkok Thailand Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking may take place during mid-2019.
NOTE: If member speculation is confirmed within the next year or so (that a building housing Church offices will be reconstructed and repurposed into an edifice housing not just those offices, but also a meetinghouse and the temple as well), then formal construction efforts could begin sooner than indicated here. Until more is known, I am trying to be conservative in my estimates. I would not be surprised in the least if this temple’s groundbreaking happens sooner or later than indicated here.
180. Abidjan Ivory Coast Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2019.
NOTE: With the massive growth that the Church has experienced in the Ivory Coast, some have speculated that the Ivory Coast could get one or two additional temples within the next 15 years. For this first one, this adjustment feels appropriate. Further adjustments will be made once more is known.
181. Quito Ecuador Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking may take place during mid-to-late 2019.
NOTE: Despite the 14-year wait between the announcement and groundbreaking for Ecuador’s first temple, this one for the Ecuadoran capital is not anticipated to have nearly as long a wait. With other adjustments that have been made, this seems appropriate. Further adjustments will be made once more is known.
182. Belem Brazil Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking may take place during late 2019-early 2020.
NOTE: Since we have a site essentially confirmed for the other Brazilian temple above, even though this one was announced a year prior to that one, it is more than likely that we will not see a groundbreaking for this Belem temple until a year or so after the one for Brasilia. If the estimates for all other temples are anywhere close (which they may or may not be), that would make this temple the last of the current bunch to be dedicated. But this is 2 or 3 years out, so changes are always possible within that time depending on what develops between now and then.

ADDITIONAL GENERAL NOTE: Temple announcements within the last three years have come during the April General Conference. They may happen at any time the First Presidency feels inspired to make them, but that has been the pattern since 2015. Also, as noted above, Elder Larry Y. Wilson said in an interview recently that 85 or more temple sites are under consideration for an announcement within the next 15 years. So we could be entering another unprecedented era of temple announcements and construction. That is one big reason why I have expanded my list of temples that may potentially be announced. I also know that sites have been procured for future temples in Managua Nicaragua (which seems most likely, as it is the first of the top ten countries with the strongest LDS presence that does not yet have a temple, and such a temple was proposed by Elder Nelson in 2012), Auckland New Zealand, Port Moresby Papua New Guinea, Bentonville Arkansas, and Missoula Montana (which was proposed by Elder Bednar sometime in 2014). I have been told by many that an official announcement will happen once unit growth and activity in temples within such areas warrants those announcements. If there have been any other sites purchased elsewhere, they have not yet been made known. We also know that several potential temples have been proposed in several locations around the world by many of our prophets and apostles. The Lord will continue to inspire such temple announcements as they are needed, and all developments will continue to be included on subsequent versions of this report.
                                                                                                           
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.