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Monday, November 13, 2017


Hello again, everyone! I am posting again right now to just say thanks. As many of you know, I was in a bad place on Friday, having been without the medication I needed, not knowing when things would be resolved, or how everything might come together.

I did the post about my need for your prayers, and over the weekend, things normalized quite a bit. I have now determined that, if I am able to continue to use the medication I have access to that is approved, with perhaps an adjusted dosage to compensate for not having the other medication, I will be in a much better place. I have seen the Lord's hand in my life, and I have certainly felt the influence of your prayers in my behalf. Everything happens for a reason.

If nothing else, the one thing that was accomplished was that I was able to determine I am better off without that medication, and I am doing so much better on less medication overall. So, I have reached out to my neurologist's office, explained what I am hoping to do, and I anticipate hearing something from them by the end of the day today or sometime tomorrow.

In the meantime, I found out that there was a lot that has been wrong with me physically for a while now that was probably due to using the medication, and, as it turns out, my frustration over the situation, as expressed to the department head of my neurologist, was the catalyst needed to really allow them to discuss what is and is not working in the current arrangement, and hopefully the situation will be remedied going forward so that none of her other patients in any of her clinics, especially Primary's, will need to go through any of this again.

The long and the short of it is that I see a way forward now where I didn't before, and the Lord is working actively to tie up the necessary loose ends. And if I am able to do what I have in mind going forward, I will be able to get back to a normal life sooner rather than later, something I have not had for a majority of this year. I will try to remember to keep you posted on how all of that is going, though, as I observed earlier, I have been more focused lately on posting about Church and temple news.

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 and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything that you do.

Input needed on General Conference Predictions: When might new temples and the new apostle be announced?

Hello again, everyone! I will be continuing my post series on potential future temple locations later on this week, but I wanted to ask for input on another element of my predictions for next General Conference. If, as I assume will be the case, new temples and the new member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are both announced during the next General Conference in April, how and when might that happen? A review of apostolic announcements may be helpful.

In April 1995, President Hinckley's first apostolic appointment (of Elder Henry B. Eyring) was announced during the Saturday Morning session Solemn Assembly, and that was also true in April 2008 for President Monson's first apostolic appointment (Elder D. Todd Christofferson). The other apostles appointed during President Hinckley's presidency (Elders Dieter F. Uchtdorf, David A. Bednar, and Quentin L. Cook) were also all sustained in the Saturday Morning Session, with President Hinckley leading out in just the announcement and sustaining of Elders Uchtdorf and Bednar, and taking the role of leading the entire sustaining of Church officers when Elder Cook was sustained. In like manner, President Monson conducted the sustaining of Elder Neil L. Andersen, his second apostolic appointment, during his opening address in the April 2009 General Conference.

Six and a half years later, because he was reducing the number and length of his addresses, President Monson did not speak until the Priesthood Session of the October 2015 General Conference, but he did authorize President Uchtdorf to mention that three new apostles would be sustained during the conference, and President Eyring led out in the sustaining of those three at the beginning of the Saturday Afternoon Session.

Additionally, in terms of temple announcements, President Monson had also habitually announced new temples during his opening remarks at General Conference, which was true until 2015. The new temples announced in the last three Aprils have all been announced during President Monson's main address during the Sunday Morning Sessions of General Conference.

There has also been a general precedent in place for what has happened at times when Presidents Kimball and Benson were having health-related difficulties. During those times, it has generally been the most senior member of the First Presidency announcing temples.

So, having explained all of this, it is my theory that President Monson will authorize President Eyring to announce and lead out in the sustaining of the new apostle and also announce any new temples at the beginning of his remarks in the Saturday Morning Session, and that that will be reiterated in the Saturday Afternoon Sustaining of Church Officers.

But that's just my opinion. 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 and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

Correction: New Stakes in Sierra Leone

Hello, everyone! In a blog post done late last night, I stated that both of the Sierra Leonean districts that were upgraded to stakes yesterday were established less than a year ago. It turns out that this is the case for the Bo Sierra Leone North Stake, but the other, the Bo Sierra Leone West Stake, was established as a district in early November 1991, and not upgraded to a stake until yesterday. I apologize for the unintentional misinformation. In the coming days, analysis of these developments will be done on the LDS Church Growth Blog, among others. In the meantime, I did want to reiterate my firm belief that there is more reason now than ever before to believe that Freetown Sierra Leone will get a temple, and that this will happen sooner rather than later. 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 and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

Elder Dale G. Renlund celebrates his 65th birthday today

Hello again, everyone! Last week, I gave a summary on this blog regarding the remaining apostolic birthdays for this year. Among those I mentioned was President Uchtdorf, and I referenced that Elder Dale G. Renlund would celebrate his 65th birthday today. In that regard, the one apostolic birthday remaining this year is that of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, who will turn 77 on Sunday December 3. That said, let's talk about  Elder Renlund in honor of his birthday today.

Elder Dale Gunnar Renlund was born in Salt Lake City, Utah to Mats Ake and Marianna Andersson, who had emigrated from Finland and Sweden respectively in order to be married in the temple. In view of that, Elder Renlund grew up primarily speaking Swedish (the fact that he did not speak English as a primary language gives him international appeal). In his  teenage years, Elder Renlund lived with his family in Sweden while his father was a building missionary.

Several years later, Elder Renlund returned to Sweden, this time as a full-time missionary. Following his missionary service, Elder Renlund continued his scholastic endeavors at the University of Utah, where he earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry and his M. D. Approximately 3 or 4 years after he concluded his missionary service, he met and married his eternal companion, Ruth Lybbert, who was the daughter of another General Authority Seventy, Merlin R. Lybbert. Elder Renlund went on to do a three-year cardiology residency and a three-year fellowship in cardiology, both at Johns Hopkins University, and served as a bishop while he did so. Simultaneously, his wife was earning her law degree. During that same busy time period, they gave birth to their only child, a daughter, Ashley.

At some point in 1986, Elder Renlund became a professor at the University of Utah. From five years later to the time of his call as a General Authority Seventy in 2009, he served as the medical director of the Utah Transplantation Affiliated Hospitals Cardiac Transplant Program. In 2000, he was also appointed the director of the Heart Failure Prevention and Treatment Program at Intermountain Health Center headquartered in Salt Lake. At the same time, his wife served as a law partner in the firm of Dewsnup, King and Olsen.

In addition to his service as a bishop, Elder Renlund also served locally as ward Sunday School president, high councilman, and as a stake president. From 2000 to 2009, Elder Renlund served as an area seventy. He became a general authority in April 2009, at the same conference Elder Neil L. Andersen was sustained as an apostle.

The August after his call, Elder Renlund began serving in the Africa Southeast area presidency, headquartered in Johannesburg South Africa. He concluded that service by serving as the area president from 2011 to 2014. Just over a year after concluding that service (during which time he served in other general capacities at Church headquarters), he was the third man to be called to fill the three vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve in the wake of the passing of President Boyd K. Packer and Elders L. Tom Perry and Richard G. Scott. Some have claimed (rightfully so, in my opinion) that since Elder Scott was the last of the three to pass away, Elder Renlund, as the last of the three new apostles called, was the one filling the apostolic vacancy occurring from the death of Elder Scott. Others may disagree on that, as is their right, but I think it fair to say.

Elder Renlund's apostolic call was significant for a few reasons. His call (in conjunction with those of his senior seatmates Elders Ronald A. Rasband and Gary E. Stevenson), made them the 98th, 99th, and 100th members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles called in this dispensation. There have been more men ordained as apostles, but only 100 have served in the Quorum of the Twelve. 

Additionally, and more significantly, Elder Renlund was the last apostle called prior to the announcement on May 23 of this year that President Monson would be stepping back from an active role in Church leadership. President Monson will need to approve the new apostle that will be called to fill the current vacancy (in view of the death of Elder Robert D. Hales), but, as with the times when Presidents Kimball and Benson were in their declining years, the calling, sustaining, and setting apart will be done by one of his counselors (likely President Eyring, though I imagine that President Uchtdorf will be present when all of that takes place).

All of that aside, there was a third aspect of significance in Elder Renlund's call. As most of you are probably aware, at times in the past where 2 or more apostles have been called, tradition is that they will be called, sustained, and ordained according to their age, from oldest to youngest. That tradition, as has been the case a couple of times before, was slightly adjusted, as Elder Stevenson, almost three years younger than Elder Renlund, was called, sustained, and ordained as the senior apostle to Elder Renlund. That kind of thing is not in any way unprecedented, but it is a significant anomaly to note.

That said, it is also significant to me to note that Elder Renlund has only been the junior apostle for two years, and another apostle has passed. This is not at all uncommon. Elder Cook had been the junior apostle for six months prior to the call of Elder Christofferson, and Elder Christofferson had in turn been the junior apostle for a year at the time Elder Andersen was called. I have previously observed the interesting fact that, by the time President Hinckley had served as long as President Monson has (9 years and 9 months or so), he (President Hinckley) had appointed four apostles, and whomever is appointed to succeed Elder Hales will be the sixth apostle appointed during President Monson's prophetic tenure.

I know that Elder Renlund may never read this personally, but for my part, I thank him for his service and wish him all the best on his 65th birthday. I additionally wanted to observe that, since Elder Renlund grew up speaking Swedish and has served as a missionary in Sweden and in an area presidency in Africa, he has had plenty of international experience. Some have observed, as is their privilege to do so, that the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles needs to be more diverse. But the fact is that, to a man, every currently serving apostle has had a wide-scoping amount of experience ministering throughout the world, and, as so many of them have observed, they are called to represent the will of the Lord to the people of the Church, and are called to be apostles to all the world, not just to represent those of different races or ethnic backgrounds.

So while I fully believe that the Quorum of the Twelve will see more apostles born outside the US in the years ahead, it does not in any way break my heart when the Lord feels a need to call someone seasoned through years of service in His Church, over and above filling whatever "status quo" many people feel the Church should be observing.

This has been a wide-ranging post, which has not necessarily stuck to the main objective of honoring Elder Renlund's birthday. Thanks for sticking through all the deviations from the original topic I set out to cover. That does it for this post. Any comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. I continue to keep my eye out for any updated Church and temple news and will pass those along as I am able to after I learn of them. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

Small But Significant Progress Reported on Temples Worldwide

Hello again, everyone! With the progress that has been made on temples around the world (which has been seen in small but very significant developments in various locations), I felt a need to devote a blog post to reporting on the latest news in that regard. Let's dive right in to what has changed since I last did a post on such progress (a couple of days ago).

First, I wanted to note that the Church now has 12.39 years within which to get 18 more temples announced, along with the 25 others currently in various stages, if, as I suspect will be the case, the Church has 200 temples by or before the 200th anniversary of its reestablishment. That bumps the average number of temples that would need to be dedicated per year to around 3.5. It should be easy to get that done. After all, as I have said, the Church will add two others within the next 27 days.

And in that regard, I wanted to again reiterate that the Meridian Idaho Temple has now completed its open house process. The cultural celebration will be held this Saturday, with President Uchtdorf presiding at that and at the dedicatory services the next day.

In the meantime, the Church is entering the final week of the Cedar City Utah Temple's open house. Following the conclusion of that (this Saturday), there will be a 3-week period of preparation (which will coincide with the Thanksgiving holiday and within which the First Presidency will hold their annual Christmas devotional), and the cultural celebration will be held on December 9, with the dedication occurring the next day. With that dedication being held for a temple in Utah, I am anticipating it will be widely-attended by Church leadership.

That said, the one notable update on temples currently under construction is that, at the Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple site, rebar is being set for the upper center facade wall. And in terms of temples that are being renovated, the temple in Memphis has seen a completion of the removal of its exterior stone. In Oklahoma City, the process of dismantling the temple continues. I have not heard whether any progress has been made with the Asuncion Paraguay Temple since its closure over two weeks ago, nor have I heard whether or not its design will be similar in concept to what is being done with the other two temples. As soon as I have word on that, I will pass it along.

All of that aside, and while noting that there has not yet been any reported progress on the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple, and that, depending on what is determined later this month, we may know more about the exact site that will be used by the Church for the Pocatello Idaho Temple. there has been no other progress reported at this time. I will continue to keep an eye on such things and pass updates along as I make them.

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 and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

Two Districts Headquartered in Bo Sierra Leone Upgraded to Stakes; Likelihood Increases for a temple in Sierra Leone

Hello again, everyone! I am posting in the early hours of November 13 (on the same day Elder Renlund is celebrating his 65th birthday; stay tuned later today for a post on that subject) to report that two districts headquartered in the city of Bo in the African nation of Sierra Leone (both of which would have otherwise marked the 1st anniversary of their being established on the 27th of this month) were reportedly upgraded to stakes. Now, before any of you ask, I will not be providing information about the units involved. That is the specialty and privilege of others (such as Matthew Martinich on his excellent Church Growth Blog; I am sure he will be posting a thorough analysis of this later this week, if he has not already done so). What I did want to mention is that this significant development for the nation of Sierra Leone solidifies my opinion that we could see a temple announced there sooner rather than later; with this development alone, a temple in that nation makes sense. I have not forgotten my promise to continue my post series on this blog about the potential temple sites in the other geographical areas of the Church which I have not covered, and hopefully I will be able to get back to doing that later this week.

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 and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.