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Thursday, September 14, 2017

October 2017 General Conference Predictions--Final Version

Hello, everyone! Given that the first session of this October's General Conference will take place just over two weeks from today, I wanted to post the final version of my predictions for that General Conference. Before doing so, I should like to note that while there have been certain patterns of rotation in effect for each General Conference, there have also been some very unpredictable elements every six months. In particular, I am most in doubt about how accurate my predictions for the Women's Session may be. Since we have had changes in the make-up of the Relief Society and Primary General Presidencies, and since I am anticipating that the Young Women General Presidency may be changed next April, it is hard to know who among the women auxiliary leaders may be called upon to speak this time. That said, the rotation that has prevailed for the Young Women General Presidency of late makes me think Sister Oscarson will be asked to represent that presidency this go round. And since Sister Bingham will likely give her official response to her new calling as Relief Society President in the general sessions, that makes me think that we will likely hear from Sister Sharon Eubank. And if the General Young Women's President and the First Counselor in the Relief Socieety General Presidency are speaking, then it would make the most sense if the Second Counselor in the Primary General Presidency spoke, which would give Sister Franco her first opportunity to speak since her call. And, barring anything unexpected, since President Eyring spoke in the General Women's Session, it is not hard to believe that President Uchtdorf will do so.

Any other speakers are where they are during this General Conference because that has made sense according to the usual rotational pattern. But I did also want to note that if President Monson and Elder Hales do speak back to back in the Sunday Morning Session, there may be reason to believe another speaker may be called upon that is not listed here, likely another General Authority Seventy.

Aside from these notes, the only thing I wanted to note is that I have changed my list of temples somewhat since I last posted it, and I hope you all enjoy those changes. If you have any feedback for me, please let me know in the comments below. For now, thank you for the privilege of your time, and may the Lord be with each and every one of you until my next post.

October 2017 General Conference Predictions
Speaking Order (Text in brackets indicated what actually happened.)
General Women’s
Joy D. Jones
Christina B. Franco

Sharon Eubank

Bonnie L. Oscarson

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Saturday Morning
President Henry B. Eyring
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Bishop W. Christopher Waddell

Jean B. Bingham

Elder David A. Bednar

Elder Massimo De Feo

Elder O. Vincent Haleck

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
Saturday Afternoon
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
President Henry B. Eyring
(Sustaining of Church Officers)

President Russell M. Nelson

Elder Dale G. Renlund

Elder Larry Y. Wilson

Elder Joni L. Koch

Elder Ian S. Ardern

Elder Quentin L. Cook

Elder Ronald A. Rasband
Saturday Priesthood
President Henry B. Eyring
President Thomas S. Monson

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

Elder Patrick Kearon

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

President Henry B. Eyring
Sunday Morning
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
President Thomas S. Monson

Elder Robert D. Hales

Elder Juan A. Uceda

Neill F. Marriott

Elder Gary E. Stevenson

Elder Adilson de Paula Parrella

Elder Brian K. Taylor

President Henry B. Eyring
Sunday Afternoon
President Henry B. Eyring
Elder Neil L. Andersen

Tad R. Callister

Elder David F. Evans

Elder M. Russell Ballard

Elder Taniela B. Wakolo

Elder Jose L. Alonso

Elder Dallin H. Oaks

Changes in General Church Leadership
Presidency of the Seventy: Elders Donald L. Hallstrom and Richard J. Maynes released from the presidency, Elders Juan A. Uceda and Patrick Kearon sustained.
NOTE: These changes, announced on May 3, became effective on August 1. For that reason, they will likely be ratified by sustaining vote. However, because there has also been a time or two when such changes have not been so ratified, I would not be surprised if this is not noted. Until further notice, I have felt it would be wiser to include the information.
General Authority Seventies: Elders Stanley G. Ellis, Larry R. Lawrence, and W. Craig Zwick released as General Authority Seventies and granted emeritus status.
NOTE: Elder Ellis turned 70 in January this year, just as Elder Zwick did in June, and Elder Lawrence did in August, so it would make sense if these men were released and granted emeritus status.
Area Seventies: Releases and sustainings.
NOTE: It has been customary for most changes in area seventies to take place in April, when President Uchtdorf leads out in the sustaining vote, and for only a few to take place in October, when President Eyring leads out in the sustaining. Since we are talking about an October General Conference, it would make sense if only a few changes happened this go-round.

Temple Predictions:
3+ temples announced in any of the following locations:
ADDITIONAL NOTE: After thinking further about those temples I feel are most likely in the near future, I first narrowed down then expanded, then revised these selections again. I am again listing them by the geographical area of the Church under which they fall and then by likelihood within each of those areas. As always, these are nothing more than my own thoughts, backed up by either research or the opinions of others I have trusted in this matter. The Lord decides where He needs His temples to be built, and those decisions are manifested to those authorized to receive such revelation (the prophet, or, in our current situation, those authorized to represent him in so determining).

Africa Southeast: Antananarivo Madagascar; Maputo Mozambique; Lubumbashi DR Congo; Cape Town South Africa
Africa West: Benin City/Lagos Nigeria; Kumasi Ghana; Freetown Sierra Leone; Yamoussoukro Ivory Coast; Monrovia Liberia
Asia: Phomn Penh Cambodia; Jakarta Indonesia; Taichung Taiwan; Ulaanbaatar Mongolia; Singapore; Hyderabad/Rajahmundry India
Brazil: Belo Horizonte; Salvador
Caribbean: San Juan Puerto Rico
Central America: Managua Nicaragua; San Pedro Sula Honduras; Guatemala City Guatemala (2nd temple)
Europe: Praia Cape Verde; Budapest Hungary; Vienna Austria; Edinburgh Scotland
Mexico: Puebla; Queretaro
North America Central: Missoula Montana; Green Bay Wisconsin; Rapid City South Dakota
North America Northeast: Richmond Virginia
North America Northwest: Salem Oregon
North America Southeast: Bentonville Arkansas
North America Southwest: Fort Worth Texas; Flagstaff Arizona; Henderson Nevada

Pacific: Auckland New Zealand; Port Moresby Papua New Guinea; Pago Pago American Samoa; Neiafu Vava'u Tonga 

Philippines: Davao/Cagayan de Oro
South America Northwest: Maracaibo Venezuela; Santa Cruz/La Paz Bolivia; Iquitos Peru
South America South: Valparaiso Chile; Neuquen Argentina
Utah North: Layton Utah
Utah Salt Lake: Tooele Utah
Utah South: Heber City Utah

Notes about potential temple sites:
1.         For the Africa Southeast Area, the two possibilities listed seem to be the most likely ones. With the growth of the Church in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a second temple seems imminent, even without knowing how the one that will be dedicated in Kinshasa will affect any potential future temples. While Elder Neil L. Andersen proposed a temple for the Kasai region, Lubumbashi seems more likely. As always, I will pass any new information along as I become aware of it.
2.         Regarding the Africa West Area, the LDS Church growth blog reports that, if current growth trends continue, that area could have 13 temples by the year 2030. Along with that, we know that there are two dedicated and one announced in that area already. And I figured the 4 in the list above might be more likely sooner rather than later. So that means that 7 of the 13 may have been identified. In the Africa West Area, second temples for Ghana and Nigeria seem likely, especially now that all Nigerian cities have been reached by the Church. And Sierra Leone may also get a temple soon simply by virtue of being so far distant from the temple district under which it falls. Additionally, Sierra Leone and Cape Verde come in at #6 and #10 respectively in terms of the top ten countries/dependencies with the strongest LDS presence but without a temple, making them very viable candidates for the future, if not immediately. I have also heard some say that a second and possibly a third Ivory Coast temple may be announced within the next 10-15 years depending on how quickly the first one progresses.
3.         While I was double-checking for additional temple sites, I quickly figured out that Asia could be a great candidate for several new temples, and these are the most likely locations that I could find. While all of them make sense in terms of President Monson’s desire to have every Church member within 200 miles of a temple, I have grouped them by the number of Church units. Additionally, I know that temples have been proposed for New Delhi India (in 1992 by Elder Maxwell) and for Singapore (in 2000 by President Hinckley). Church membership in those countries stand as follows: Cambodia: nearing 14,000; India: just over 13,000; Mongolia: nearing 11,500; Indonesia: nearing 7,300; Singapore: nearing 8,400. According to a statistical profile written by a Church Growth expert, India may not actually get a temple until there is a stronger Church presence to support. For now, it seems that the order I have placed them in may be the most likely order by which they might be announced. On July 28, I added one for Taichung Taiwan, since further research indicates Taiwan may be ready for a second temple. As more information comes to light, I will make any adjustments that might be necessary.
4.         In Brazil, the two cities above seem to be the most imminent possibilities. It would also not surprise me at all if the Church held off on announcing any other Brazilian temples until the two under construction and the other two announced ones are closer to completion. As I have mentioned previously, I had felt prior to General Conference last April that Brazil's next temple would be built in Brasilia, but didn't think it would be announced until the one in Belem made more progress. So more Brazilian temples may be announced soon, but they also might not. Once more is known, I will make any adjustments needed. 
5.         Central America may be needing several new temples, based on what my research shows. Then-Elder Nelson proposed a temple for Managua in 2012, and I recently learned that land has been set aside for such a temple for several years. Additional research done on July 28, 2017 showed that temples could be needed in the other cities listed in the Central America Area, and they are listed in order of likelihood for that to happen.
6.         While I said when posting my last list of possibilities that any new European temples might be put on hold until the Church evaluates how the dedications of the Paris France and Rome Italy Temples and the rededications of the temples in Freiberg and Frankfurt Germany have affected temple attendance for European Saints, in going over the current and future districts, I was reminded that I had heard from several people that Budapest Hungary would be the next European temple. And Vienna Austria makes sense in terms of President Monson's expressed goal to have every member within 200 miles of a temple. Until more information is known, these additions seemed to be sound.
7.      Of the many cities in Mexico, I know Puebla has been widely mentioned as the most likely site for the next temple in that nation. I have also felt at times that Queretaro could be a feasible possibility. If and when I feel I can narrow down or add new options, I will do so. 
8.          In the Pacific, I know that the first two cities have been mentioned to me as having sites purchased, and once Church growth and temple activity from these areas warrant an official announcement for them, it will happen. Of the two, Auckland seems more likely. Further study which I did in late July confirms that the other two locations listed may be possible.
9.          While Church growth in the United States has stagnated somewhat of late, except in the “Mormon corridor” of Idaho, Utah, and Arizona, I have heard at one time or another that each of the temples I listed above could potentially be As part of my efforts to expand my predictions, I decided to include these cities again on this list. Until I know more about US growth, these seem to be sound changes. I also know, as I have previously noted, that land has been set aside in Bentonville Arkansas and Missoula Montana for future temple sites, with an official announcement anticipated once unit growth and activity in the current temple districts warrant that happening.
10.       As a state that is constantly expanding its outreach, Utah has 18 temples either in operation or in various stages of construction. Layton and Tooele have often been mentioned to me by name as possibilities. I added Heber City in late July after a couple of comments led me to do so. Each of these seem likely. I also know that we are still waiting to have the Southwest Salt Lake Valley temple mentioned by President Hinckley announced at some point. Some have said that this temple has been announced already, but the research I have done proves otherwise.

Final note: As with everything else I put together, these are no more than my own thoughts, feelings, and observations based on the research I have done and the reports I have received. I hope that is absolutely understood and accepted. No one can know the mind of the Lord relating to His Church except those authorized to receive revelation regarding their own spheres of responsibility. While I am always gratified when my predictions turn out to be correct, I am even more appreciative of the many times developments do not take place as I project they will. At the end of the day, the Lord is the only one who can determine best how to further His work, and He manifests His will to those authorized to lead the Church and make decisions. Just wanted to end on that note.

RESULT: The following temples were announced, much to my great delight:

Musings on Church growth so far this year/Exploring the Potential for such growth during the remainder of this year

For what they may be worth to any of you, here are some musings I put together regarding Church growth that has happened thus far this year, and how the whole picture of overall Church growth may look by the end of this year. These are no more and no less than my own thoughts, and I hope to always be the first to recognize my own need to open up any line of thought to suggestion, clarification, and correction from you, my readers, as any of you are likely far better qualified to know whether or not I am off-base than I might consider myself to be. With that hope, I wanted to note the fact that there will be 53 Sundays in 2017, I have calculated that 37 of them have come and gone, which totals roughly 70% of all Sundays that will take place this year. Therefore, the 16 Sundays that are left will comprise the remaining 30% of this year.

Thus far, the Church has seen a net increase of 41 stakes this year, which works out to roughly 1.1 stakes created each Sunday. If the Church continues stake creations at the same rate during the remainder of this year, then the Church will have added another 18 stakes or so within the last 16 Sundays that are left this year, for a net increase of 59 stakes total this year. That said, as I have noted elsewhere, August and September are often banner months for new stake creations. This year has been no different. With the six Sundays that have happened thus far in that August/September period, 9 new stakes have been created, which is an average of 1.5 stakes per week. If that follows for the next two weeks, we will have 3 additional new stakes. And if the rate of 1.1 new stakes cited above continues for the remaining 14 Sundays that will then be left in 2017 (for the final third of the year), then the rest of the year will see a net increase of 16 new stakes by the time the last day of 2016 rolls around. That means that we will then have seen a net increase of 78 stakes during 2016, and would bring the total number of stakes at the end of 2017 to 3,385.

In the meantime, the Church has seen a net decrease of 11 districts during this year thus far, which means the Church has lost an average of 0.3 districts per week. If that average continues, then the Church will lose 5 more districts by the end of this year, and will have thus marked a net decrease of 16 districts during 2017, bringing the year-end total number of districts to 540.

The Church has, as always, seen a substantial increase in wards and branches thus far in 2017, having marked a net increase of 32 congregations over the 37 Sundays that have passed, for an average increase of 0.86 per week. If that continues, the Church will add 14 more congregations minimum, which will then bring the total number of those congregations to a year-end net increase of 46, and the total number of congregations at the end of the year to a grand total of 30,350. I have previously mentioned the feedback I got from a few of you to the effect that there are around 100 “sensitive units” counted among the total number given each year in the Church’s statistical report (though not included in most people’s “running totals”), and I have rounded that to a rough 75. With that in mind, it is not hard to estimate the year-end number of wards and branches at being somewhere around 30,425. Time will tell how accurate that might be. I for one am hoping that each of those numbers will be slightly higher at the end of this year.

Again, though I am by no stretch of anyone’s imagination able to be considered a Church growth expert, these are some musings I had on the subject, for what they may be worth to any of you. As with anything else I publish on this blog, I am always open to suggestion and correction as they relate to these musings. So, feel free to comment away! In the meantime, thank you for the privilege of your time, and may the Lord bless you all until my next post. Until that time, I wish you all the best.