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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Church News Updates

Hello, everyone! I am posting today with a few significant albeit minor Church news updates. First of all, this article describes how newly acquired fragments of the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon have come in to the hands of the Church History Department personnel who are busy working to preserve it. I hope each of you will enjoy the article about it as much as I did.

Next, this article shares remarks by well-respected BYU professor Brad R. Wilcos, who is often called upon to speak and share motivational or inspirational remarks with youth and young adults. Brother Wilcox focused his address on six types of salvation that are offered to all mankind through the grace and the atoning sacrifice of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.

Finally, while I myself never have been and never will be a big football fan, for any readers of my blog that do enjoy such things, this article features an interview with BYU athletic director Todd Holmoe, who spoke on what's ahead for BYU sports during the fall semester of 2017.

That does it for this update. I will be back before too much longer with an updated version of my temple construction progress report. For now, thank you for the privilege of your time, feel free to let me know your thoughts on this post if you feel so inclined, and may the Lord bless you all. Until I post again, I wish each and every one of you all the very best.


Sierra Leonean Church Members Help to Clean Connaught Hospital

Hello, everyone! I am posting yet again, this time to pass along a great news story from the Mormon Newsroom website. In this report featured on the Ghana Mormon Newsroom website, it was noted that Saints in the Freetown region are helping to clean and fix up a hospital in Connaught. It was nice to hear how, even in the midst of their own recovery from the aftermath of the Sierra Leone mudslide, members mobilized so quickly to take care of this much-needed cleanup project. I continue to hope and pray that Latter-day Saints throughout the world that are in the midst of natural disasters will be blessed. For now, thank you for the privilege of your time. Comments are welcome and appreciated. Until my next post, may the Lord bless you all.

Temple Construction Progress Update

Hello, everyone! I am back again, this time with an updated copy of my temple construction progress report. In light of the developments I reported several hours ago regarding temple progress, and because there have been a few other developments since that time (including one or two that I find significant, even if no one else shares that opinion), I wanted to pass along the updated version of that report. It has been interesting to see the day-to-day developments relating to temple construction progress on a day-to-day basis.

Just think of what has happened just over the last few months: we learned several other temple renovations were being planned, we had the unexpected announcements of both the rededication information for the Jordan River Utah Temple and the groundbreaking for the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple, and my thinking has been changed numerous times on which cities may soon get a temple, how soon temples that have not progressed beyond an announcement might have a groundbreaking, and the order in which temples that are or will be commencing construction or renovation might subsequently have a dedication or rededication. The study of these things has been a grounding influence and blessing to me as my wife and I continue to muddle through our various health issues.

So here is that report. Let me know your thoughts on these developments. In the meantime, thank you for the privilege of your time, and may the Lord bless you all.

Temple Construction Progress Update (current as of 8/30/17)

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 12.60 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; open house reservations will be accepted beginning on Monday September 25, 2017 (with the open house set to run between October 21 and November 11); dedication scheduled for Sunday November 19, 2017.
159. Cedar City Utah Temple: Hanging interior light fixtures; installing art glass; open house reservations will be accepted beginning Monday October 2, 2017 (with the open house set to run between October 27 and November 18); dedication scheduled for Sunday December 10, 2017.
NOTE: Yesterday, it was noted regarding this temple that landscaping was progressing. In a check done around the time when the 29th became the 30th, that information was no longer included on this temple’s status. This indicates to me that landscaping has concluded, which is a significant milestone, as it leaves just the temple’s interior to be finished.
                                                      
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 decking; site grading of grounds underway; concrete poured for baptismal font; completion anticipated sometime during mid-to-late 2018.
NOTE: Barring anything unexpected, I have felt it safe to assert my opinion that this temple’s completion will likely be closer to the middle of the year than the end of it, and I have felt that is especially true given that the three other temples below this one will likely be completed as the year comes to a close. If I get information that changes my thinking on this matter, I will pass it along.
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: Temple roof slab poured; brick work continues at missionary housing; waterproofing and backfilling entrance buildings; 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 be sure to pass that along.

Under construction, completion anticipated within the next 2-3 years:  
165. Fortaleza Brazil Temple: Applying waterproofing membrane to temple exterior walls; meetinghouse exterior walls rising; completion anticipated sometime during early-to-mid 2019.
NOTE: In view of my feeling that the Durban temple will be completed before the end of 2018, I am likewise as certain that this temple’s completion will be closer to the first part of 2019 than the middle of it, especially since we have operating temples scheduled for renovation that are anticipated to be completed closer to the middle of 2019 than the beginning of it. As with anything else, if my thinking on this changes, I will pass that along.
166. Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple: Construction underway on temple substructure; completion anticipated sometime during mid-2019.
167. Lisbon Portugal Temple: Preparing to pour main floor of temple; meetinghouse cladding progressing; completion anticipated sometime during late 2019.
168. Arequipa Peru Temple: Setting rebar for second floor structural walls; completion anticipated sometime during late 2019.
NOTE: Since full-scale construction is still pending for the Winnipeg Manitoba Temple below, and since this temple has made very steady progress, I have changed my estimate for the completion of this temple to before the end of 2019. If I need to change that again, I will do so.

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 between late 2019-early 2020.
NOTE: On August 29, 2017, many sources available to me removed any estimated completion date from this temple. However, I ran the numbers, and those tell me that as long as the Church is able to start full-scale construction on this temple before the end of this year, then it is almost certain that a dedication could follow at around the time indicated below. If 2017 ends without any progress being made in that regard, I will reevaluate things.

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.
NOTE: Based on the knowledge that this temple will be somewhat comparable in size to the Kinshasa DR Congo Temple, and because this temple’s groundbreaking will happen prior to the end of the year, I have felt an initial 3-year estimate for its completion would be appropriate. Once work gets underway in earnest on this temple (which, by all reports, looks to be able to happen by the Monday after the groundbreaking), we will know more about when it might be completed, which will continue to change depending on how fast work progresses. I will be sure to pass along any updates to my line of thought and reasoning on this.

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; roof slab poured for basement addition; rededication anticipated sometime during mid-2018.
NOTE: This temple appears to be on track to be dedicated sometime after both the rededication of the Jordan River Utah Temple and the dedication of the Rome Italy Temple. Once more is known about how soon that might be, I will pass the information along.

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: As mentioned in previous versions of this report, all that is known about the renovation process for this temple is that it will alter both the interior and exterior appearance of it. While my study of the prospects for expansion of temples scheduled for renovation is ongoing, I learned in the last month that it may not be as likely as I thought that this temple’s renovation will involve an expansion. Once more is known, I will pass that along. Either way, the renovation begins in about a month.
18. Tokyo Japan Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation on September 29, 2017; rededication may take place sometime during early-to-mid 2020.
NOTE: As previously mentioned, the stated purpose for this temple’s renovation is to bring electrical and mechanical systems up to date and up to code. While it is a smaller temple from the Kimball era, an expansion does not seem likely for this temple.
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: As noted above on the Memphis temple, an expansion does not seem likely for this temple either. If I find information that suggests that is part of the plan, I will pass it along.
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 this temple is the most recently dedicated of those scheduled for renovation, it is anticipated that the renovation process will be swifter. As mentioned above on both the Memphis and Oklahoma City temples, an expansion of this temple does not seem likely. Once more is known, I will pass that along.

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: While a closure date has not yet been announced for this temple, it is possible that the closure could happen within the last week of 2017. In the meantime, as noted above on temples that will close in 2017, and based on feedback I received from a contact in North Carolina, an expansion for this temple does not seem to be in the plans. If I find information that changes my thinking on that, I will be sure to pass it along.
94. Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation in February 2018; rededication may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2019.
NOTE: This temple is listed above the Oakland one for now because they are in alphabetical order. Whenever a more precise closure date is known for either, I will pass that along. For now, as noted on other temples scheduled for renovation, I don’t know how likely it is that this temple could be expanded. Once I know more, I will pass that along as well.
13. Oakland California Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation in February 2018; rededication may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2019.
NOTE: When the renovation closure for this temple was announced, the Church stated it was necessary because the electrical and mechanical systems needed to be brought up-to-date. So it seems doubtful that anything else will be done during this renovation. Once we know more about what will be involved (including the exact closure date), I will pass that along.
16. Washington D. C. Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation in March 2018; rededication may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2020.
NOTE: The stated purpose for this temple’s renovation is to bring electrical and mechanical systems up-to-date. Because this temple is larger than both the Tokyo Japan and Mesa Arizona Temples, I am estimating that it will be the last of the bunch to be rededicated. Once more is known about this process (including an exact closure date), I will pass that along.
7. Mesa Arizona Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation in May 2018; rededication may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2020.
NOTE: As previously noted, the stated purpose for this temple’s renovation is to bring electrical and mechanical systems up-to-date. And since this is the second time this temple has been renovated, it seems likely that it could be the first temple to be rededicated in 2020. As the process unfolds and more is known about its progress, I will pass along any adjustments to this line of thought.

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: If the information I have received about this temple and its progress is correct, the year of preconstruction which the contractor for this temple mentioned was needed prior to its groundbreaking began in March 2017. While there has been no evidence to corroborate that this process has indeed begun, it seemed to be enough for me to move this temple below Haiti’s first. Some have said that the surprise announcement of the Port-au-Prince groundbreaking may mean we could have other temples that will have a groundbreaking by the end of this year. But if that doesn’t happen, I think it is safe to assume and to assert that this temple will be the first to have a groundbreaking next year, and that it will happen sooner rather than later.
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: While numerous delays prevented this temple from making any progress since its announcement almost seven years ago, those delays are at an end. Since it seems likely that the Lima Peru Los Olivos Temple will be the next one to have a groundbreaking (either before the end of this year or during the first part of next year), it seems logical to assume that this temple could follow shortly thereafter. More to come once more is known.
173. Harare Zimbabwe Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking could take place during mid-2018.
NOTE: As previously noted, shortly after this temple was announced in April 2016, Elder Hamilton made a statement that indicated a site announcement and groundbreaking would follow for this temple in short order once 2017 began. Nearly eight months of 2017 have come and gone with nothing new happening for this temple. For that reason, it seems safe to assume that it will be the third temple of this announced group to have a groundbreaking. While some have said it could happen by the end of this year, it seems more likely that it will not take place until the middle of next year at earliest. If my thinking in that regard changes, I will pass that along.
174. Saratoga Springs Utah: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking may take place sometime during mid-2018.
NOTE: When I was encouraged to take another look at the order in which announced temples could have a subsequent groundbreaking, I felt impressed to find out, on average, how long it has taken for temples in Utah County to get from announcement to groundbreaking. Based on that average, it seems likely that, if a site is announced for it soon, this temple could have a groundbreaking at the time indicated above, and perhaps well ahead of the other temples listed below. If my thinking on that changes, I will pass it along.
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: Even though this temple has already had a site identified, and that site has been inspected by Church engineers, over the course of the last several months, I have done considerable study on when announced temples have gone on to have a groundbreaking. And that study, combined with valuable feedback from experts on this subject, has led me to believe that this temple’s groundbreaking is more likely to happen towards the middle or end of 2018 than the beginning of it, especially because other temples are almost certain to have a groundbreaking first. I will continue to pass along any updates to this line of thought and reasoning.
176. Greater Manila Philippines Temple: Planning phase; site confirmed; awaiting official name announcement; groundbreaking may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2018.
NOTE: The note on the temple above applies to this temple as well. Though it has had a site confirmed already, because other temples are almost certain to have a groundbreaking prior to this one, it has felt wise to push this estimate back. In the meantime, we could also hear any day an announcement about the name for this second temple for the capital city of the Philippines. As more information is released, I will pass that along.
177. Pocatello Idaho: Planning phase; awaiting site confirmation; groundbreaking may take place sometime during late 2018-early 2019.
NOTE: Two potential locations have been noted as potential locations for this temple site. Until a site confirmation happens, a groundbreaking time-frame may be hard to pin down. However, Idaho is well within the “Mormon corridor (of which Arizona and Utah are also a part), and temples in that area generally get built relatively easily and quickly. That said, as previously noted, I have felt it wise to push the estimate for this temple’s groundbreaking back to this point because the temples above seem more likely to have a groundbreaking prior to this one. That said, there could be an equal chance that this temple could have a groundbreaking in either late 2018 or early 2019. I will pass along updates as I learn of them.
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: I was pleased to hear of the media event held for this temple two months ago. During that event, Elder Joseph W. Sitati, the first GA Seventy from Kenya, mentioned that it usually takes a year or two after temple announcements for a groundbreaking to happen. Given that statement and the fact that the temples listed above this one will likely have a groundbreaking first, it seemed wise to adjust my estimate. If my thinking on this changes, I will pass that along.
179. Bangkok Thailand Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking may take place during mid-2019.
NOTE: As noted previously, some Thai members and other members familiar with that country have speculated that an existing Church office building (owned since 2008) will be reconstructed into an edifice that not only houses Church offices, but the temple and a meetinghouse as well, similar in concept to the temples in Hong Kong China and Manhattan New York. If that is confirmed within the next year or so, I could see a groundbreaking happen at around this time. I will pass along any updates on this as I receive them.
180. Abidjan Ivory Coast Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2019.
NOTE: Growth trends in the Ivory Coast have led some to speculate that a second (and even a third) Ivory Coast temple could be among the 80 referenced above. Regarding this temple, until more is known about it, this estimate seems wise.
181. Quito Ecuador Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking may take place during mid-to-late 2019.
NOTE: Even though Ecuador’s first temple had a 14-year wait between its site announcement and groundbreaking, the growth of the Church in South America has been a clear indicator that the Church won’t have to wait that long for this groundbreaking. Because of the others listed above that are expected to have a groundbreaking first, it seems likely that the time-frame above will be likely for this temple’s groundbreaking. As always, I will adjust this as more becomes known.
182. Belem Brazil Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking may take place during late 2019-early 2020.
NOTE: While it seems almost certain that the Brasilia Brazil Temple will have a groundbreaking sooner than this one (as we still do not know where in Belem this temple will be built), what is not known is whether this temple will indeed be the last of the current bunch to have a groundbreaking. As progress is made on temples in the next year or so, hopefully that will be cleared up. And, as always, I will continue to pass along updates and changes to this line of thinking.

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 80 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.