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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Additional Church News Items

This will be a minor Church news update. Following the violent attacks in Virginia by white supremacists, the Church issued this statement advocating tolerance and love. That wasn't surprising at all. In the wake of violent incidents of the past, the Church has always been among the first to express sympathy and support for the victims of such tragedies, and to encourage all Americans, Church members or not, to use disasters like this to unite in our support for one another.

Additionally, Elder D. Todd Christofferson spoke at Cambridge University to the local chapter of BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law Society on the subject of religious freedom. As I have previously noted in other blog posts, I am glad to see that the Church is taking more opportunities to emphasize the important role of religious freedom. Elder Christofferson's remarks continue those ongoing efforts. You can read a summary of what he said here or the full transcript of his remarks here.

It was good to read about those updates. As always, this has been a very busy day in terms of Church news and happenings. It will be interesting to see what the Lord has in store for His Church during this next week. If the first 13 days of this month have been any indication, the final 18 will be jam-packed with so many other important news items and events. For my part, I will continue to keep an eye out for such things, and to pass on such updates as I am able to once that information crosses my radar.

In the meantime, thank you for the privilege of your time. Any comments are welcome and appreciated. Until my next post, I wish you all the best.

Temple Construction Progress Update

Hello, all! In addition to the dedication of the Tucson Arizona Temple today, progress has also been reported on the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo and Fortaleza Brazil Temples. Additionally, I took the opportunity to rework my note about potential future temples. In light of all of these developments, I have felt it wise to post an updated version of my temple construction progress report. The report follows below. Enjoy! In the meantime, any comments are always welcome and appreciated. For now, thank you for the privilege of your time. I hope each of you are having an edifying and inspirational Sabbath Day. Until my next post, I also thank you for your interest and support and wish each and every one of you all the best. Thanks again.

Temple Construction Progress Update (current as of 8/13/17)

NOTE ABOUT FUTURE TEMPLE CONSTRUCTION: As I have noted in many previous versions of this report, Elder Larry Y. Wilson, the Executive Director of the Church’s Temple Department stated that 80 potential temple sites are currently under active consideration for a subsequent announcement within the next 15 years. While many of those temples make it to a subsequent announcement, it is certain that a few of them could either be eliminated or replaced, with others added. If we take Elder Wilson at his word, that means that by sometime in 2032 (likely the end of that year), the Church could have at least 260 temples in any phase of construction. That being the case, it seems very safe to assume that the Church could easily have 200 operating temples either by or before the 200th anniversary of the Church’s restoration and reestablishment (which will take place on Saturday April 6, 2030). That will be easily doable if the Church dedicates 43 temples (the 25 currently in any phase and 18 new ones announced) in the 12.65 years between now and then, which works out to 3 or 4 temples that will need to be dedicated each year. For my part, I will be keeping my eyes open for any developments and will pass such news along as I hear of it.

CURRENT TEMPLE STATUS: 157 operating temples; 2 more have construction wrapping up prior to their dedications later this year; 9 others are in various construction phases; 1 had a groundbreaking last year, with full-scale construction anticipated in the very near future; 1 has a groundbreaking scheduled (which will take place in just under three months; 1 temple has a rededication scheduled; 1 other is 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 for those 5 will be set closer to the time); the remaining 12* are announced (with either a site announcement or groundbreaking pending). TOTAL: 182 temples in any stage.
*NOTE: Though this number had been italicized in previous versions of this report, I determined to put it in bold on August 6, 2017 because the number of announced temples is definite information, though it is always subject to change in the future based on other temple announcements or whenever groundbreakings will be set.

Construction nearing completion; dedication scheduled:
158. Meridian Idaho Temple: Finalizing landscaping and interior work; dedication scheduled for Sunday November 19, 2017.
159. Cedar City Utah Temple: Hanging interior light fixtures; installing art glass; landscaping progressing; 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; construction office trailers donated to community organizations; office space relocated to patron housing; completion anticipated sometime during mid-2018.
161. Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple: Attaching roof deck; site grading of grounds underway; concrete poured for baptismal font; completion anticipated sometime during mid-to-late 2018.
162. Concepcion Chile Temple: Cladding progressing on tower and east and west walls; decorative fence installation underway; completion anticipated sometime during mid-to-late 2018.
163.  Barranquilla Colombia Temple: Pouring concrete curbing and walkways; preparing to clad tower; completion anticipated sometime during late 2018.
164. Durban South Africa Temple: East soffit temple wall poured; laying brick at temple and missionary housing; utility work continues; completion anticipated sometime during late 2018-early 2019.
NOTE: In studying this temple’s potential completion time-frame, I have become convinced that the dedication for it will take place closer to the end of 2018 than the beginning of 2019. If my thinking on that theory changes, I will pass it along.

Under construction, completion anticipated within the next 2-3 years:  
165. Fortaleza Brazil Temple: Applying waterproofing membrane to exterior walls; completion anticipated sometime during early-to-mid 2019.
166. Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple: Construction underway on temple substructure; completion anticipated sometime during mid-2019.
168. Lisbon Portugal Temple: Foundation walls and columns nearing completion; cladding the meetinghouse; completion anticipated sometime during late 2019.
169. Arequipa Peru Temple: Setting rebar for main floor structural walls; completion anticipated sometime during late 2019-early 2020.

Construction pending (anticipated to start anytime):
167. Winnipeg Manitoba Temple: Groundbreaking held Saturday December 3, 2016; awaiting full-scale operations; acquiring building permits; completion anticipated sometime during mid-to-late 2019.
NOTE: As noted above on both the Arequipa Peru and Lisbon Portugal Temples, changing the completion estimate for this temple in turn necessitated changing the numbering again. Until something comes along to change my thinking again, I have felt it is warranted.

Groundbreaking scheduled:
170. Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple: Ground being cleared; preparing for groundbreaking ceremony, which is scheduled for Saturday October 28, 2017; completion anticipated sometime during mid-to-late 2020.

Scheduled for rededication:
20. Jordan River Utah Temple: Closed for renovation; rededication scheduled for Sunday May 20, 2018.

Undergoing Renovation (rededication anticipated within the next year or so):
41. Frankfurt Germany Temple: Closed for renovation; baptismal font support walls poured in basement addition; rededication anticipated sometime during mid-2018.

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.
18. Tokyo Japan Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation on September 29, 2017; rededication may take place sometime during early-to-mid 2020.
95. Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation on October 14, 2017; rededication may take place sometime during early-to-mid 2019.
112. Asuncion Paraguay Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation on October 29, 2017; rededication may take place sometime during early-to-mid 2019.

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. Urdaneta Philippines Temple: Planning and approval phase; awaiting government approval and official site announcement; groundbreaking could take place sometime during early-to-mid 2018.
NOTE: This temple is the oldest of those currently announced that has not progressed at all beyond an announcement. Due to some local opposition and governmental red-tape that caused delays, the estimate for when and how soon a site announcement and groundbreaking might happen in the near future has been pushed back again and again. Now that those delays are over, the only question is how soon things might happen. I have heard from some who say we could see both a site announcement and groundbreaking before the end of this year. But since that is looking less likely now, it has felt wiser to push the estimate back into next year. And I also wanted to note that on August 6, 2017, I switched this temple and the Harare Zimbabwe Temple because this one is farther along in its status (planning and approval) than that one (which is merely in planning).
173. Harare Zimbabwe Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking could take place during mid-2018.
NOTE: In spite of the statement by Elder Kevin S. Hamilton (made last year) that a site announcement and groundbreaking would happen in short order once 2017 began, there has been no change in this temple’s status. It has felt wise to push the groundbreaking estimate to 2018. And since the status on this temple (planning phase) is behind that of the Urdaneta Philippines Temple (planning and approval phase), I have made what I feel is a necessary adjustment in my thoughts. Once more is known, I will continue to adjust as it may be needed in the near future.
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,do so ocodo 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.

Tucson Arizona Temple Dedicated Today Becomes the 157th in operation

Hello, all! Even though the final dedicatory session for the Tucson Arizona Temple is still in progress right now, I wanted to share the information I found about this event. The cultural celebration, which featured youth from within the district of this new temple, was held last night. I was gratified to hear that, as I had hoped, expected, and projected, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf presided at both that cultural celebration last night, and at the dedication of this temple today.

Accompanying President Uchtdorf from among Church leadership were Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the Presidency of the Seventy, and, the following General Authority Seventies of the Church: Elder Larry Y. Wilson (representing the Temple Department in his capacity as executive director), Elder Benjamin De Hoyos who, according to his biography on the Church website, is currently serving as an Assistant Executive Director of the Temple Department, and Elder Kevin R. Duncan, whose current assignment has not been included in that biography (but I am thinking he may either be another Assistant Executive Director of the Temple Department or else has some role in the Family History Department. Either way, his presence there makes sense, as he may be a member of the Temple and Family History Executive Council.

Click here for a summary of the cultural celebration, and here for the Mormon Newsroom report on the dedication. It is exciting to have this temple dedicated. I hope and pray that the Tucson Saints will put this new temple to use and keep it busy. In the meantime, that does it for this blog post. Stay tuned for more in the coming days and weeks as more information becomes available relating to Church or temple news. Any comments continue to be welcome and appreciated.Until my next post, thank you for the privilege of your time. I wish you all the best for a continued safe and happy Sabbath Day.