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Sunday, October 1, 2017

Article from LDS Living Demonstrates How President Monson Was Still Involved in the October 2017 General Conference

I just had to pass on this article from LDS Living about how President Monson was still very much a participant in the October 2017 General Conference. Enjoy!

Potential Participants for Funeral of Elder Robert D. Hales

Hello, everyone! I am just posting with my thoughts on who might participate in the funeral services for Elder Robert D. Hales. Bear in mind that these are no more than my own thoughts, and that the actual services may look considerably different. Also bear in mind that, in view of President Monson being out of the public eye due to his advanced age, he will likely not participate in these funeral services. Just wanted to note that.

That said, what might the funeral services look like? If previous precedent is any indication, here are my thoughts:
Conducting: President Dieter F. Uchtdorf (President Henry B. Eyring conducted the 2015 funeral services for President Packer & Elders Perry & Scott, but with President Eyring being the senior leader in attendance, he might delegate that to President Uchtdorf)

Speakers:
Stephen C. Hales (for the Hales family)
Elder Dallin H. Oaks
President Russell M. Nelson
President Henry B. Eyring

That is just my best guess, based on what I currently know. If any of you know of anything I have overlooked, please let me know. In the meantime, thank you for the privilege of your time, and may the Lord bless you in all that you do.

Temple Construction Progress Update

Hello, everyone! Just wanted to report that with the closures oftemples in Memphis Tennessee (yesterday) and Tokyo Japan (which has an official closure tomorrow, but has theoretically already closed due to today being Sunday), and with my reevaluations of the time-frames for temple-related events, there has been more than sufficient need to post the latest version of my temple construction progress report. Here it is. Enjoy, and let me know your thoughts. Thank you for the privilege of your time, and may the Lord continue to bless you all in all that you do.

Temple Construction Progress (current as of 10/1/17)

NOTE ABOUT FUTURE TEMPLE CONSTRUCTION: As referenced in previous versions of this report, Elder Larry Y. Wilson, the Temple Department Executive Director, stated in an interview given as the open house for the newly renovated Idaho Falls Idaho Temple got underway that the Church currently has around 80 sites under consideration for a subsequent announcement within the next 15 years. While some, if not at least a majority, of those 80 sites will make it to a subsequent announcement, it is significant to think about. That would put the number of temples in any phase at around 260 or so in 2032. It is not hard to believe, therefore, that whether or not the Church makes an official goal to do so, we could see a minimum of 200 temples dedicated by or before the bicentennial (200th ) anniversary of the restoration of the Church (which will take place on Saturday April 6, 2030). With the Church only having to announce 18 additional temples and to complete the other 25 in any phase, all it would take to reach that milestone is for 3-4 temples being dedicated in each one of the 12.51 years between now and then. Since the Church will be maintaining at least that average amount for the next 3 years at minimum, it appears to be very doable. 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: The Church has 182 temples in various phases. There are 157 operating temples, with 2 that have had construction conclude (and are preparing for their open houses; one of which is accepting reservations for its open house, and the other, which will be doing so starting next Monday). There are additionally 9 others are in various phases of construction and 1 more that had a groundbreaking last year, (with full-scale construction anticipated to begin within the first six months of next year). 1 other has a groundbreaking scheduled (which will take place in just over a month’s time. Of the temples that have been, are now, and will shortly be undergoing renovations, we have 1 that has a rededication scheduled (for the middle of next year), while 3 others are undergoing renovation (1 of which has its’ completion anticipated in the middle or latter part of next year, 1 that closed on the last day of September, and 1 that is set to close tomorrow, though it is closed today, effectively beginning its renovation process), and another 2 have had their closure dates set before the end of this year, in addition to 5 others that we know will be closing early next year (with closure dates having been announced for all but one). The remaining 12 are announced (with either a site announcement or groundbreaking pending).

Construction completed, preparing for open house:
158. Meridian Idaho Temple: Accepting open house reservations (tours set to run for the three weeks between Saturday October 21 and Saturday November 11, except for the relevant Sundays); practices underway for youth cultural celebration; dedication scheduled for Sunday November 19, 2017.
159. Cedar City Utah Temple: Furnishing temple; preparing for open house and cultural celebration; accepting open house reservations beginning Monday October 2 (tours set to run for the 22-day period spanning Friday October 27-Saturday November 18, except for the relevant Sundays); dedication scheduled for Sunday December 10, 2017.

Under Construction (completion anticipated by the end of next year (2018)):
160. Rome Italy Temple: Installing art glass; scaffolding coming down from east tower; planting trees and shrubs; completion anticipated sometime during mid-to-late 2018.
NOTE: Given the changed completion time-frame for this temple, I have changed my estimate for the dedication window to Sunday August 12 or 19. Time will tell how likely that is, and I can then alter this estimate further as needed.
161. Concepcion Chile Temple: Angel Moroni on site awaiting installation; cladding progressing on east side of temple; installing exterior lighting; completion anticipated sometime during mid-to-late 2018.
NOTE: Since this temple has been on track in terms of its construction, even with the altered completion time-frame, I have still felt confident that this temple’s dedication could take place on Sunday September 9 or 16. As the next 7-10 months come and go, that can be altered as needed.
162. Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple: Royal palm trees planted on grounds; steel framework installed for steeple; completion anticipated sometime during mid-to-late 2018.
NOTE: In rethinking this temple’s probable dedication date, I have felt we could see that happen on Sunday November 11 or 18. As the next year comes and goes, we will know how likely that is to happen, and any further adjustments that may be needed can be made.
163.  Barranquilla Colombia Temple: Pouring concrete curbing and walkways; preparing to clad tower; completion anticipated sometime during late 2018.
NOTE: In view of having to adjust the dedication dates for the other temples that will be completed during 2018, I have adjusted my estimate for this temple’s dedication to Sunday December 9 or 16. As the next year or so passes, we will know how likely that is, and any updates can be made that are needed.

Under construction, completion anticipated during 2019:  
164. Durban South Africa Temple: More concrete poured for baptismal font; backfilling temple foundation; polyurethane insulation applied to housing exterior walls; completion anticipated sometime during early 2019.
NOTE: Unless this temple’s construction is delayed, I could see a dedication happen in late April or early May. If something happens to change that dramatically, I will be sure to pass that information along.
165. Fortaleza Brazil Temple: Applying waterproofing membrane to temple exterior walls; meetinghouse exterior walls rising; completion anticipated sometime during mid-2019.
NOTE: As no progress has been reported on this temple for over a month, I feel confident that we will see this temple’s dedication in early-to-mid June 2019. As without everything else, I will be sure to pass along any changes to this estimate.
166. Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple: Crews preparing to pour exterior walls; completion anticipated sometime during mid-to-late 2019.
NOTE: If this temple stays on track, I see no reason why it could not be completed in mid-August 2019. That will depend on how much it progresses between now and then. I will be keeping an eye open for developments in this regard and will pass those along.
167. Lisbon Portugal Temple: Pouring main floor walls; meetinghouse cladding progressing; completion anticipated sometime during late 2019.
NOTE: With what is known about the progress (and the lack thereof) that has been reported on this temple, I feel confident that a dedication will not happen any sooner than late October-early November 2019. As with everything else, I will be sure to pass along any changes to this estimate as I make them.
168. Arequipa Peru Temple: Second level walls poured; preparing for roof slab; completion anticipated sometime during late 2019-early 2020.
NOTE: Wanting to be as optimistic as I can, I am still not convinced that this temple will be completed before the end of 2019. Until more is known, I have felt to alter this temple’s completion time-frame to sometime in late April-early May 2020. I will be sure to pass along anything that changes my thinking on this.

Construction pending:
169. Winnipeg Manitoba Temple: Groundbreaking held Saturday December 3, 2016; plans being slightly modified; full-scale operations anticipated to begin in the first or second quarter of 2018; completion anticipated sometime between early-to-mid 2020.
NOTE: Once full-scale construction begins on this temple, we will know more about what to expect in terms of a completion estimate. But I don’t see this temple being dedicated any sooner than early-to-mid June 2020. I will pass along any changes to that once more is known.

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: Assuming full-scale construction will be able to start on this temple the Monday after its groundbreaking, and assuming no delays, it is my estimate that this temple could be dedicated in late October-early November 2020. As this process gets underway, I will pass along any changes to that estimate.

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-to-late 2018.
NOTE: As promised, I reevaluated my estimate for this temple’s rededication. Having done so, I am of the opinion that we could see that happen after the first two new temples are dedicated in 2018, and before the final two new ones are dedicated. That puts my revised estimate for that event on either Sunday October 21 or 28. I will be sure to pass along any changes I make to that estimate within the next 9-12 months.

Undergoing Renovation (rededication anticipated sometime during 2019:
80. Memphis Tennessee Temple: Closed for renovation; rededication may take place sometime during early-to-mid 2019.
NOTE: This temple closed on the last Saturday of September 2017 (General Conference Saturday). While we do not yet know if any kind of expansion is planned for this temple, we do know that part of the process will be to change the interior and exterior appearance of it. With that in mind, as previously noted, a rough 18-month estimate seems appropriate, which would put this temple’s subsequent completion sometime during late April-early May 2019. As this process unfolds, I will be sure to pass along any changes to this estimate as this renovation continues.

Undergoing Renovation (completion anticipated sometime during 2020):
18. Tokyo Japan Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation on Monday October 2, 2017; rededication may take place sometime during early-to-mid 2020.
NOTE: Though tomorrow is the official closure date for this temple, the Church website for it states that this temple is closed today and tomorrow, so it’s as good as closed for renovation.  This temple (a smaller one built in the Kimball=era) is closing merely to upgrade electrical and mechanical systems, so it is easy to assume that its rededication will be happening on the earlier side of this estimate. As always, I will pass along any changes as they become necessary.

Renovations Scheduled (official closure dates announced):
95. Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation on Sunday October 15, 2017; rededication may take place sometime during early-to-mid 2019.
NOTE: While it is true that this temple has more room for expansion than Memphis does, it does not seemly likely that such an expansion is part of the plan. Therefore, a revised estimate of 15 months seems likely for the completion of that renovation process. Based on that time-frame, I am also estimating a subsequent rededication during mid-March 2019. As that process unfolds, I will pass along any changes to that line of reasoning.
112. Asuncion Paraguay Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation on Sunday October 29, 2017; rededication may take place sometime during early-to-mid 2019.
NOTE: The interesting thing about this temple’s renovation plans is that any mention of it closing on the date specified (or even at all in 2017) has been removed. Probably just a technical glitch. In the meantime, unless an expansion of this temple is planned (which is unlikely at this point), a 15-month estimate seems reasonable for this temple’s completion, which would put the dedication sometime during mid-to-late April 2019 (sometime after General Conference). That will likely change as this process continues, but for now, it seems safe.
68. Raleigh North Carolina Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation on Wednesday January 10, 2018; rededication may take place sometime during mid-2019.
NOTE: If the member contacts I found in North Carolina are correct, the renovation of that state’s only temple will not involve or include an expansion of any kind. With that in mind, a 17-month estimate seems appropriate for this temple, which allows for anything unexpected. And based on that estimate, it would make sense if this temple had a rededication scheduled for sometime during early-to-mid August 2019. I will pass along any updates to that estimate that may be needed within the next year as this process will be well underway by that time.
94. Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation on Thursday February 1, 2018; rededication may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2019.
NOTE: Unless an expansion is planned for this temple (which, as noted previously, seems doubtful), then it is more than likely that the renovation will only take around 17 months or so. With that in mind, it is not hard to believe that we could see the rededication of this temple at some point during mid-September 2019. As with everything else, I will be sure to pass along any updates to this line of reasoning.
13. Oakland California Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation on Monday February 19, 2018; rededication may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2019.
NOTE: As previously noted, the stated purpose for this temple’s renovation is to upgrade and update electrical and mechanical systems. Therefore, an expansion is likely not part of those plans. Bearing in mind that this temple is anticipated to be rededicated prior to the end of 2019, I have felt that a 17-month estimate for this process would be appropriate. In running the resulting calculation, that would put this temple’s rededication happening sometime during mid-December 2019. Obviously, as this renovation gets underway in five months and makes progress, we will know more about how reasonable that estimate might be, and I will make any adjustments that may be needed.
16. Washington D. C. Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation on Sunday March 4, 2018; rededication may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2020.
NOTE: With what is currently known about this temple’s renovation (having confirmed the exact date, and also knowing that it is mainly to upgrade and update the mechanical and electrical system), in taking the larger size of this temple into account (which will extend the process), a 32-month estimate seems appropriate. That would put this temple’s rededication sometime during mid-November 2020. As the next year unfolds, more will be known, and any adjustments will be provided.

Temples which have had a renovation announced but for which an exact closure date is not yet known:
7. Mesa Arizona Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation in May 2018 (exact date has not yet been announced); rededication may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2020.
NOTE: Because the Mesa temple has been renovated once before, it is not anticipated to take as long to complete this renovation (which is being done primarily to upgrade the electrical and mechanical systems throughout the temple). Therefore, an initial estimate of 26 months seems appropriate, which would put the estimate for this temple’s rededication somewhere around early-to-mid September 2020. Within the next year, this process will be well underway, and more will be known about any adjustments that may need to be made. Until then, it seems to be a sound adjustment to what I have previously stated.

NOTE ON FUTURE GROUNDBREAKINGS: Until the prophet (or those he authorizes to do so in his behalf) announces a groundbreaking for any or all of these temples, the timeframes listed below reflect merely my own thoughts, theories, and conjectures, based on what is now known about how soon any of them might happen. I continue to hope and pray for news of other groundbreakings, but time will tell how imminent any of these events will be, and whether or not they will unfold as presented below. I am keeping an eye out for developments and will pass along any updates as I receive them, including any and all changes to these estimates. Until something more official comes out, this information should not be taken as gospel, as it will be consistently altered as developments change these estimates. And speaking personally, I will be just as happy if I am proven wrong on any of this as I will be if anything in this section is proven right. For me, the privilege has always been the opportunity to contribute to discussions in this regard.

Announced temples that may have a groundbreaking anytime between now and the end of 2018:
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. If that proves to be the case, then a groundbreaking could easily take place in mid-March, which would allow that to happen prior to winter’s arrival in April. I am estimating more specifically that the exact date may be Saturday March 10 or 17. As with everything else, I will pass along any updates to this line of thought and reasoning as I make them.
172. Urdaneta Philippines Temple: Planning and approval phase; awaiting government approval and official site announcement; groundbreaking could take place sometime during mid-2018.
NOTE: With a potential site having been identified for this temple, if that is confirmed at any point prior to the end of this year, the groundbreaking for this temple will likely happen sooner rather than later, especially now that the delays that once prevented this temple’s construction progress are over. It is my revised estimate that this temple’s groundbreaking could take place in mid-to-late May, and, more specifically, on or around May 19 or 26. I have checked into weather conditions during that time, and it would work well then. As with everything else I post, I will be sure to pass along any updates to this estimate as I make them.
173. Harare Zimbabwe Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking could take place during mid-2018.
NOTE: Despite the statement made by Africa Southeast Area President Kevin S. Hamilton (who said that this temple would likely have a site announcement and groundbreaking in relatively short order once 2017 began), the year is almost finished, and we are no closer to a change in this temple’s status than we were at the beginning of this year. Wanting to be as optimistic as possible but also to allow for anything unexpected, I am setting a revised estimate for this temple’s groundbreaking to take place in mid-June, and, more specifically, on either June 9 or 16. I will be sure to pass along any updates to this estimate that might be needed.
174. Bangkok Thailand Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking may take place during mid-2018.
NOTE: As part of my ongoing efforts to research the potential order in which announced temples may have a groundbreaking, I took a look at this temple particularly. While it is true that we only have member speculation that an existing building will be reconstructed and repurposed (in the style of the Manhattan New York and Hong Kong China Temples), until we can be sure that this will not be the case, I have to go with what is known.  The Manhattan New York and Hong Kong China Temples both had a groundbreaking in a comparatively shorter amount of time than most other temples. So if the existing building will be repurposed, it seems safe to surmise that a groundbreaking could take place during early-to-mid August. I have set a more specific estimate for Saturday August 4 or 11. As with everything else, I will pass along any updates to this line of thought.
175. Abidjan Ivory Coast Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2018.
NOTE: I know that this temple has not yet had a site confirmed, but as I felt a need to reevaluate the likely order in which announced temples might have a groundbreaking, I have run the numbers to recalculate my estimate. I hope with all my heart that we will have a site confirmed for this temple within the next 9 months or so. If we do, I could see the Church setting the groundbreaking for this temple to take place sometime during mid-September, which would be either Saturday September 8 or 15. If nothing happens for this temple by the early months of next year, I will reevaluate things at that point.
176. Saratoga Springs Utah: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking may take place sometime during late 2018.
NOTE: As previously noted, while a site announcement is pending on this temple, if one is confirmed within the next 6-8 months, and if this temple conforms to the average time within which other Utah County temples have gone from announcement to groundbreaking, then I could see this temple having a groundbreaking sometime during late October or early November, or, more precisely, on either Saturday October 27 or November 3. I will be keeping an eye out for any developments and will be sure to pass those along.
177. Alabang Manila Temple: Planning phase; site confirmed; awaiting official name announcement; groundbreaking may take place sometime during late 2018.
NOTE: As with other temples in this section, I did more research on issues that would affect progress on this temple, primarily climate & temperature. Climate-wise, Manila has the same weather pretty much year-round. Therefore, it is my new estimate that the groundbreaking for this temple could take place in mid-December (which would be on Saturday December 9 or 16). If the groundbreakings for both of the Philippines temples are held during 2018, this would be the first time in Church history that two temples would simultaneously be under construction on that island nation. As always, I will be sure to pass along any updates to this line of thought and reasoning as I become aware of them.
178. Brasilia Brazil Temple: Planning phase; site inspected by Church engineers on June 21, 2017; groundbreaking may take place sometime during early 2019.
NOTE: As part of my massive ongoing efforts to revise my thoughts on the potential timeframe for future temple-related events, I took another look at this temple. What I found that led me to move other temples around today also led me to give this temple another look. And in that regard, I found out that, in terms of climate, the period from January to March is the best time to visit Brasilia. Bearing in mind that it would take a miracle to have this groundbreaking take place in six months, I have felt it wiser to adjust this temple’s groundbreaking estimate to early 2019, and have felt that a more specific time-frame may be mid-February. As with everything else, I will pass along any updates as I make them.
179. Quito Ecuador Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking may take place during early-to-mid 2019.
NOTE: As I have felt a need to revisit the order in which announced temples may have a groundbreaking, for a revised determination on this temple, I took a look at temples in the region of Western South America (where this temple will rise). In that area (with the exception of the first Ecuadoran temple, which took over 14 years), the average time in which temples in that area went from site announcement to groundbreaking has been 2 years, 6 months. That said, this temple has not yet had a site confirmed. So I am setting a revised estimate for 3 years. I will therefore place my estimate for this groundbreaking as sometime during late April or early May 2019. As with everything else, I will be sure to post any changes to this theory.
180. Pocatello Idaho: Planning phase; awaiting site confirmation; groundbreaking may take place sometime during mid-2019.
NOTE: As I have done with other temples, I calculated the average time within which Idaho’s other temples have gone from announcement to groundbreaking. Based on that estimate, I have adjusted my thinking that this temple will have a groundbreaking at some point in mid-June 2019. That said, I recognize that temples within the “Mormon corridor” of Utah, Arizona, and Idaho have typically been able to get started faster than temples elsewhere within the US or any other nations. I will keep my eyes open for anything that convinces me to change this again, and will continue to pass that information along.
181. Nairobi Kenya Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; media event held June 14, 2017; groundbreaking may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2019.
NOTE: As mentioned earlier, I took a look at the average time within which temples in Africa have gone from announcement to groundbreaking. And as a result of that double-check, I have revised my estimate for this groundbreaking as well. I can now see it happening in early-to-mid August. As with everything else, I will pass along any updates as I am made aware of them.
182. Belem Brazil Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking may take place during late 2019.
NOTE: Since there has been no change on this temple’s status since its announcement 1.5 years ago, unless something changes, we may find that this temple is the last one of the current bunch to have a groundbreaking. I sincerely hope that is not the case, but want to play it safe. For that reason, I am estimating this temple will have a groundbreaking sometime during either late October or early November. I will keep my eye on things and let you all know if my thinking on this changes.

ADDITIONAL GENERAL NOTE: As noted above, Elder Larry Y. Wilson stated in an interview on the last day of April 2017 (as the Idaho Falls Temple Open House was underway) that the Church has 80 potential sites that are under consideration for an official announcement within the next 15 years. As previously noted, all of the last 12 temples that have been announced from January 2015 to now have seen that happen during April General Conference. So that may continue. But it is also true that such announcements can come any time the Church president or those authorized to do so in his behalf feel impressed to make them. Since 80 temples in 15 years averages out to 5 new announcements per year between now and sometime in 2032, we could be entering an era where a few are announced in each conference and when some will be announced in between each April and October. Future versions of this report will feature any and all ongoing developments in this regard. Stay tuned for that, and thank you for the privilege of your time.

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.

Report on the Concluding Session of General Conference

Hello again, everyone! 3 hours after the final session of General Conference ended, I am here to post my report of that session. As previously noted, President Eyring conducted and, as such, mentioned Elder Hales's passing and offered an expression of love for his family (and mentioned that President Nelson was with him at the time of his passing; we learned during the same session that President Nelson had, in response to a prompting, rushed from the Sunday Morning Session to Elder Hales's bedside and that's how he managed to be there at the time Elder Hales passed away). President Eyring also mentioned that President Monson, under whose direction General Conference had been conducted, was watching at home.

The invocation was given by Elder Joseph W. Sitati, who was sustained in April 2009, making him the last GA Seventy sustained in that General Conference to give a prayer in this one. The benediction was offered by Elder Evan A. Schmutz, sustained in April 2016.

Elder M. Russell Ballard spoke first, having not spoken in the Sunday Afternoon Session since October 2014. He was followed by Sunday School General President Tad R. Callister. Then Elder Joni L. Koch, who was sustained last April, spoke, followed by Elder Stanley G. Ellis, who was granted emeritus status in this conference. Then we heard from another GA Seventy sustained last April, Elder Adilson de Paula Parrella. Then we heard from Elders Ian S. Ardern and Jose L. Alonso, both of whom gave their second addresses since being sustained as General Authorities in April 2011. Elder Neil L. Andersen closed out the conference by talking about the importance of general conference messages, and quoting President Monson from April conference, and addresses given during this conference by Presidents Eyring, Uchtdorf & Nelson, Elders Oaks & Ballard, and the previously mentioned paragraph from the address Elder Hales would have given had he been able to attend this General Conference.

With this report on the Sunday Afternoon Session, that completes my reports on the sessions of the October 2017 General Conference. Any comments are welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time, and may the Lord continue to bless each of us in all that we do.

Last Paragraph of Wisdom from Elder Hales

Hello, everyone! Though it had been doubtful prior to General Conference that Elder Hales would be able to attend, the First Presidency told Elder Hales that if he wished to do so, they would keep a few minutes open for him during the Sunday Morning Session. He wrote some brief remarks for delivery, so he'd be ready if he was able to deliver them. The Church News shared a small paragraph from the prepared text of what would have been Elder Hales' last address. I hope the Church will publish the entire thing.

Here is what the Church News shared from what he wrote:“When we choose to have faith we are prepared to stand in the presence of God. After the Savior’s crucifixion, He appeared only to those who had been faithful in the testimony of Him while they lived in mortality. Those who rejected the testimonies of the prophets could not behold the Savior’s presence nor look upon His face. Our faith prepares us to be in the presence of God.”

That each of us may live as Elder Hales both lived and taught I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


Tributes to Elder Hales

At the beginning of the Sunday Afternoon Session of General Conference, President Eyring noted the passing of Elder Hales and shared this tribute to him. To mark his passing, the Church News published this article in honor of his lifetime of Church service which, in addition to his 23.5 years as an apostle, also included 9 years as Presiding Bishop of the Church, 8.5 years in the First Quorum of the Seventy prior to that, and 1.5 years in the now-defunct position of Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve. His service as a General Authority spanned 42.5 years. As previously mentioned, funeral arrangements will be announced as soon as they are made. That funeral will likely take place later this week. Just wanted to add these thoughts. As always, any comments are welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. May God bless each of you until my next post. Until then, I wish you all the best.

Apostolic Facts Which Some Might Find Interesting

Hello, everyone! In the wake of Elder Hales' passing, I wanted to use a blog post to share some facts about our apostles that some might find interesting. First, Elder Hales was the last apostle appointed during President Benson's presidency, and he was the last of those appointees to pass away (as Elder Wirthlin did in 2008 and Elder Scott did in 2015).

With the passing of Elder Hales, we have President Monson, appointed by David O. McKay, President Nelson and Elders Oaks and Ballard, appointed during the presidency of Spencer W. Kimball, Elder Holland, the only apostle appointed during Howard W. Hunter's brief administration, Presidents Eyring and Uchtdorf, and Elders Bednar and Cook, appointed by Gordon B. Hinckley. The other five apostles (Elders Christofferson, Andersen, Rasband, Stevenson, and Renlund) have been appointed in the 9 years of President Monson's administration, making the apostle that will be appointed to fill the vacancy in the Quorum as a result of Elder Hales' death President Monson's sixth apostolic appointment.

As of today, the First Presidency has a total 251.35 years of life experience, which works out to an average of 83.78 years. The 11 members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have a total of 818.88 years of life experience, which averages out to 74.44 years. And the 14 apostles together have a total of 1,070.23 years of life experience, which averages out to 76.45 years.
I am grateful that each of these Brethren has had their lives preserved up to this point. How wonderful it is to know that we do have prophets, seers, and revelators to guide us in these latter-days.
That does it for this post. Any comments are always welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post, I wish each of you all the best.

BREAKING NEWS: Elder Robert D. Hales Passes Away

Hello, everyone! I have sad news to report. At 12:15 PM, Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles passed away. He was surrounded by family at the time of his passing. As previously noted, he turned 85 years old on August 24. More information will be provided as it becomes available. Rest well, Elder Hales! You've earned it. I know this good man merited the greeting from the Savior: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Thou hast been faithful over a few things. I will make you a ruler over many. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."

Funeral arrangements will be announced in the near future. That does it for this post. Any comments are welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time, and may the Lord bless you all in all that you do.

Report on the Sunday Morning Session

Hello, everyone! I am back with my report on the Sunday Morning Session, which concluded less than an hour ago. It was another wonderful session. Conducted by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, it featured an invocation offered by Elder Michael T. Ringwood (President Nelson's son-in-law who was sustained to the Seventy in April 2009) and a benediction by Elder Jose A. Teixeira (the last currently-serving GA Seventy who was among the first group called in President Monson's first General Conference as Church President).

The session was absolutely wonderful. We first heard from Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society General President. She was followed by Elder Donald L. Hallstrom, recently released from the Presidency of the Seventy, who now is the second most senior GA Seventy currently serving. It is interesting that both Elder Maynes and Elder Hallstrom spoke during this General Conference following their release from the Presidency of the Seventy. I honestly don't know if we will be hearing from any current members of the Presidency of the Seventy, or if these two outgoing members will cover the two usual talks from members of that Presidency. It will be interesting to see. Rounding out the first half of that session was Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (the only member of that Quorum to speak during this session, which means that we most likely will not hear a second time from President Nelson).

Following the congregational hymn, we heard from Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, the Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, who gave his second talk in that capacity. Oddly enough, 1.5 years ago (in April 2016), when he gave his first talk as a new member of the Presiding Bishopric, he spoke in the Sunday Morning Session as well. After Bishop Waddell's address, we heard from Elder W. Craig Zwick, who, as noted previously, was granted emeritus status in the Saturday Afternoon Session. The Church doesn't often have GA Seventies speak after being granted emeritus status, but it happens periodically.

As the session came to a close, President Eyring offered his remarks. The reason why I asserted in my last post that we would likely not see any new temples announced in this General Conference is that, in President Monson's absence, he would have authorized one of his counselors to make that announcement, and President Eyring's concluding remarks in this session mark the last time we will hear from a member of the First Presidency in this General Conference.

So, what do we have to look forward to in the Sunday Afternoon Session? While we typically hear from the final three members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the last session of General Conference, in Elder Hales's absence from the conference, there are only two members of the Twelve left to speak, Elders Ballard and Andersen. Unless they have President Nelson give a second talk to conclude the conference (which is unlikely), then either Elder Andersen or Elder Ballard will be the first speaker in the session, and the other will be the last. There have typically been seven total speakers in that session, which has meant that four other speakers have been featured between the three apostles. With only Elders Ballard and Andersen left to speak, to fill time that would have been taken by the third apostolic speaker in the session, the Church may call on 2-3 additional speakers.

But who might be speaking today between Elders Ballard and Andersen? Well, unless I am incorrect, one of those 5 or 6 speakers will be Tad R. Callister, the Sunday School General President. The Church could call upon a current member of the Presidency of the Seventy, and if that happens, there are 4 possibilities: either Gerrit W. Gong or Patrick Kearon, who last addressed us in the Sunday Afternoon Session of the April 2016 General Conference, or Craig C. Christensen or Juan A. Uceda (both of whom spoke in the Saturday Morning Session of General Conference in October 2016.

There is an equal possibility that the Church could also call upon one of the female auxiliary leaders (which would be a member of the Primary General Presidency), or that the Church could call upon however many General Authority Seventies that would be needed to fill up the time.

Whatever might actually happen, you can depend on my report of it, which will be coming in 3 hours or so. That does it for this post. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. For now, thank you for the privilege of your time, and may the Lord continue to bless each of you in all that you do.

No New Temples Announced

Hello again, everyone! I will post my report of the Sunday Morning Session in a few minutes here, but I just wanted to note that no new temples were announced during this General Conference. The Sunday Morning Session just concluded, and that means there will be no other talks by the First Presidency. I can understand why there have not been any new announcements. Between the five announced last April, and the fact that the First Presidency has announced several temple renovations this year alone, along with looking at where other temples are in the process, there may not have been time to give due consideration to potential locations. I feel certain that we can look forward to new temples next April, if not between now and then.

That does it for this update. Any comments are welcome and appreciated. In the meantime, thank you for the privilege of your time, and may the Lord bless you all in all that you do.