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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Temple Site Possibilities: Africa Southeast Area

Hello again, everyone! Here I am with the second in the series of posts I referenced just a few minutes ago. This post will examine potential future temple sites in the Africa Southeast Area of the Church. So, let's dive right in to it!

The Africa Southeast Area currently only has 1 temple in operation, the Johannesburg South Africa Temple. But there are also two under construction (in Durban South Africa and Kinshasa DR Congo). There are also two others announced (in Harare Zimbabwe, and Nairobi Kenya). Until all of these temples are a bit further along, it is difficult to know whether or not any others will be announced.

That said, the Kinshasa temple is anticipated to be dedicated next year, with Durban in 2019. Additionally, Elder Kevin S. Hamilton, who presides over the Africa Southeast Area, was quoted at some point in 2016 after the Harare temple was announced that a site announcement and groundbreaking would likely take place in short order during 2017. As we know, that has not happened as of yet, but may happen at some point early next year.

Also, our native Kenyan General Authority, Elder Joseph W. Sitati, represented the Church at a media event for the Nairobi Temple. He said that the Church usually takes a year or two after a temple announcement to announce a site (which, as far as I can tell, has been the average for temples in this area). So the groundbreaking for that temple might happen anytime in the next 2 or 3 years.

The Johannesburg Temple district is currently comprised of 54 stakes and 37 districts. Of those, a minimum of 17 stakes and 3 districts in DR Congo will be served by the Kinshasa Temple, and some surrounding nations that will be closer to the DR Congo than to South Africa will also be taken from the Jo-burg (as my mother, a native South African, affectionately calls it) district.

Additionally, other cities in South Africa will be part of the Durban SA Temple district, being closer to it than Jo-burg. And once both the Durban and Kinshasa Temples are completed, more will be known about their temple districts. And as the Harare and Nairobi Temples get further along in the construction process and are dedicated, that will also divide these districts further.

That said, in terms of potential future sites, I have the following possibilities: Antananarivo Madagascar; Maputo Mozambique; Lubumbashi DR Congo; and Cape Town South Africa.

First, Antananarivo is home to the only mission of the Church in Madagascar. In Madagascar, there are two stakes and two districts, which in turn comprise 14 wards and 15 branches, which totals 29 congregations, making that nation a strong contender for its own temple.

In Mozambique, Maputo is the headquarters of the only mission. Additionally, there are 3 stakes and 1 district, which in turn are comprised of 20 wards and 9 branches, bringing the total number of congregations in Mozambique to 29 as well.

As already noted, at minimum, the Kinshasa Temple will serve the 17 stakes and 3 districts in the DR Congo. Those stakes and districts are further subdivided into 137 wards and 42 branches, which is a total of 179 congregations. That is a lot of congregations for one temple, making it likely that another temple could be announced in that nation before too much longer. Additionally, the DR Congo is home to 3 missions. The first mission in that nation was established in Kinshasa, and the second one was created in Lubumbashi 7 years ago. Since that time, not only has another mission been created, but additionally, 6 stakes and 2 districts have also been created. Anyway that is considered, it is impressive. So I see a second temple in DR Congo as something that will happen sooner rather than later.

If and when South Africa might get its third temple is going to depend on how busy the other two are, before, during and after the construction of all other temples that are or will be constructed in the Africa Southeast Area. Many people have contended that George may be a better candidate for South Africa's third temple, if and when that happens, but I know that Cape Town is the third of the three most populous cities in that nation, and I see it as being the better candidate.

Additionally, when the Durban Temple is dedicated, Cape Town will be the only South African city with an LDS mission that does not have its own temple. And while we don't know how the Jo-burg district may be divided with that of Durban, what we do know is that South Africa as a nation has 16 stakes and 8 districts, which in turn is divided into 107 wards and 75 branches. That brings the number of South African congregations to a total of 182, which is large for one or even two temples, even if not taking the other nations into account. That is why I have felt a third temple in Cape Town may make a lot of sense.

So there you have it. I have now "sounded off" about my temple picks for the Africa Southeast Area, and now I want to hear your thoughts. Is there merit in any or all of these selections, have I missed any that I should be considering, and how might the prospects for temples in this area change with the completion of those under construction and announced? Let me know.

That does it for this post. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post, I wish each of you all the best and pray the Lord's blessings upon you.

Help Needed: Refining My Temple Site Predictions

Hello, everyone! This will be the first in a series of posts I will do over the next few days, and it serves as an introduction to these posts. As those who have been long-time followers of this blog are aware, for the last couple of years, my General Conference predictions, which are put together every six months well in advance of each conference, have included temple site predictions. Because I have come to value the comments I get in response to things I post, I am doing something I have not before done on this blog: requesting help in picking the most likely temple sites, especially in areas where I have found two or more locations that may be as likely as any others. I will share my thoughts and reasoning behind what I am thinking in this regard, then I will be giving all of you a chance to comment with your thoughts on what might be most likely. So, here goes!

As  I typically do, I am going to offer my list, in which I group potential temples first by area, then by potential likelihood within each area. I will provide any information I have that has led to my adding these locations to my list, then ask which locations you feel are more likely. And if there are factors I have not taken into consideration, that would be something else I would like to hear about. So, we will explore these possibilities over the next several days, going by each of the Church's geographical areas.

Before I end this introduction to the series of posts I will do, I want to thank you all for your valued input and support. Without it, I likely would overlook factors that may be very important to consider when looking into future temple site locations. With your help, I hope to make the list of temple site possibilities for the April 2018 General Conference the best and most accurate list I have ever done.

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 each of you in all that you do.

Updated Age and Tenure Information for our current apostles

Hello again, everyone! Since I last offered a detailed report on the latest apostolic age and tenure milestones, over two months have come and gone, so it is high time to cover that topic again. Hopefully many of you will find this information interesting. For anyone not interested in this subject, feel free to bypass this post. For those sticking with me, the numbers I will be providing in this post are current as of today.

As always, I’d like to begin by talking about President Russell M. Nelson’s tenure as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He has now served as Quorum President for 2 years, 3 months, and 26 days, and in view of that length, has become the 17th longest-tenured Quorum President. On Monday December 18, he will become the 16th longest serving Quorum President, having served longer than Harold B. Lee. The tenure milestones he will observe after that are more spread out, but I will report on his progress towards those milestones in later updates. And as is true with any other details, however many additional milestones President Nelson observes during his tenure (however long that turns out to be) will be completely in the Lord’s hands.

For now, let’s turn our attention to President Monson. Our prophet quietly marked his 90th birthday on Monday August 21 (thereby becoming the 7th nonagenarian Church President), and did not attend General Conference earlier this month, which is understandable in view of the May 23 announcement that he would be stepping back from an active role in Church leadership. He has been Church President now for 9 years, 8 months, and 26 days. His next age milestone will be reached next March.

Our current First Presidency are the third-longest continuously-serving in Church history. Assuming President Monson is still alive at these times, they will become the second-longest serving First Presidency next year, on Wednesday September 12, and will become the longest serving First Presidency on Friday July 3, 2020. It will be interesting to see what happens there.

I wanted to insert a general note here about declining Church presidents: We had two recent examples of Church presidents being out of the public eye for years prior to their passing. The most recent instance was with President Benson, who became the Church President in November 1985, and last delivered his own message in General Conference in October 1988, though his counselors, at his request, read two addresses from him in April 1989, and one the following October; President Benson passed away in May of 1994, just over five years after he last personally spoke in General Conference.

The next most recent example of a Church president who was out of the public eye for years prior to his passing was, by a double coincidence, President Kimball, who was not only his predecessor in the Church Presidency, but had also been ordained an apostle just prior to but on the same day as President Benson’s apostolic ordination. It is interesting to me that two apostles ordained on the same day served as Church presidents back-to-back. President Kimball was ordained Church President in December 1973, and the last time he personally spoke more than once in General Conference was April 1981. One year later, President Kimball requested his personal secretary, D. Arthur Haycock, to read an address to open the conference, and the Church was delighted to hear President Kimball give a very brief address as the last speaker during the Sunday Afternoon Session.

Then, in April 1985, the second-to-last General Conference for which President Kimball was the Church President, he gave permission for a video to be put together for the Priesthood Session, which featured snippets of counsel he had given in the Priesthood Sessions during his Church Presidency. He passed away on November 5 of that same year.

So, from those examples, we see that the President of the Church may live for several years after he steps back from an active role in leading the Church. President Benson lived for over five years after his last address, and President Kimball was able to give a brief personal address (his last public appearance) three years before his passing. In this we see the Lord’s hand controlling who lives long enough to become the senior apostle and lead His Church, and when the Church presidency passes from one senior apostle to the next. President Monson could easily live several more years, or, if the Lord willed, could be called home before next April. Many have said President Nelson and then Elder Oaks will likely be the next Church presidents. President Nelson is just under three years older than President Monson, and Elder Oaks is just under five years younger than President Monson, so anything is possible. I for one am glad that these transitions are governed by the Lord.

That said, let’s turn our attention to apostolic age developments. Before getting into the specifics of the ages of our current apostles, I wanted to note one other thing: With the death of Elder Robert D. Hales, there are only the 14 apostles, and of them, one (Elder Christofferson), has a birthday in January. One other (Elder Rasband) observes his birthday in February, then three months later, two others are fairly close together (President Eyring at the end of May, and Elder Bednar in mid-June). In August, we have four apostolic birthdays, which, in calendrical order, are observed by Elders Stevenson, Andersen and Oaks, and President Monson, whose birthday is more towards the end of the month. Elder Ballard observed his birthday earlier this month, and President Uchtdorf and Elder Renlund will mark their birthdays a week apart next month. Rounding out the year, the 14th apostolic birthday is Elder Holland’s, which he observes at the beginning of December.

Now, in terms of specifics, President Monson is 90 years, 2 months, and 8 days old, which puts his decimal age at 90.19. President Eyring’s age now stands at 84 years, 4 months, 29 days, which is 84.41 years. Rounding out the First Presidency is President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, whose birthday is coming up a week from tomorrow, putting his age at 76 year, 11 months, and 23 days old, which is 76.98 years. So the First Presidency now has a combined life experience of 251.58 years, and their average age is 83.86 decimal years.
With the current vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve, there are 11 members. As for their current ages, President Nelson is now 93 years, 1 month, and 20 days old, with a decimal age of 93.14 years. Elder Oaks, stands at 85 years, 2 months, and 17 days old (with a decimal age of  85.21 years). His birthday is coming up in August. Elder Ballard has reached the age of 88 years, 9 months, and 29 days old (which is 88.83 decimal years) as of today. Elder Holland, who, as mentioned, will observe his birthday in just over a month, is currently 76 years, 10 months, and 26 days old, making his decimal age 76.90 years.

Elder Bednar’s age now stands at 65 years, 4 months, and 14 days, having a decimal age of 65.37 years. Elder Cook, who is older than both President Uchtdorf and Elder Holland, marked his 77th birthday last month, making him 77 years, 1 month, and 29 days old, which makes his decimal age 77.14 years. As for Elder Christofferson, he is 72 years, 9 months, and 5 days old, while his decimal age has now reached 72.76 years. Elder Andersen is now 66 years, 2 months, and 20 days old, which makes his decimal age 66.22 years.

Elder Rasband, just over six months older than Elder Andersen, is currently 66 years, 8 months, and 23 days, which puts his decimal age at 66.73 years. Elder Stevenson, our youngest current apostle, is 62 years, 2 months, and 23 days old, or 62.23 decimal years. Elder Renlund, the least senior but second youngest apostle, who is nearing his 65th birthday, is 64 years, 11 months, and 16 days old, which makes his decimal age 64.96 years.

Because of the existing vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve, the 11 apostles in that group have a combined life experience of 819.72 years, putting the average age of those 11 apostles at 74.52 years. Our 14 apostles have a grand total of 1,071.3 years of life experience, which puts the average age of each of them at 76.52 years.

As I observed in another recent blog post, there is no minimum amount of age or experience required for any apostle. Therefore, whoever is called to fill the current vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles could be younger than Elder Stevenson, or could fit anywhere between any of the others in age. I do know that Elder George Q. Morris holds the distinction of being the oldest apostle called, and that call came when he was 80. My personal opinion is that the Church will opt for someone in their 50s or 60s who is well enough to do the extensive traveling required. It will be interesting to see where the new apostle fits in with the age of the other 14.

Now, if I may, I would like to share a few thoughts about present and future nonagenarian apostles. President Nelson, who is now over 93 years old, ranks as the 8th oldest apostle in Church history. Around 1.5 months from now, (on Friday December 22), he will become the 7th oldest apostle, having lived longer than Charles W. Penrose. His next nonagenarian milestone will not be observed until 2019.

As already noted, President Monson joined the ranks of apostolic nonagenarians on Monday August 21, 2017, becoming the 18th such apostle in Church history. Just over a month ago, he became the 17th oldest apostle, passing J. Reuben Clark. He will observe a few more milestones next year if he is still alive by then. In addition to however long he lives, any other milestones he may observe as a nonagenarian apostle will depend on how long President Nelson lives, and if President Monson outlives President Nelson, which may or may not happen.

Our other apostles will take varying lengths of time to join the list of nonagenarians, from Elder Ballard (who will do so in 11 months, and 9 days), to Elder Stevenson, who will do so in 27 years, 9 months, and 8 days. I am keeping an eye on all tenure and age developments relating to our apostles and will pass that information along as I am able to do so in the future.

That does it for this post. Any comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best.