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Friday, December 22, 2017

Update: The Church Reports Success of Worldwide Christmas Initiative

Hello again, everyone! I almost missed this story, but the Church has released this report demonstrating the success of their second annual Worldwide Christmas initiave, "Light the World". At this Christmas season, it warmed my heart to hear what was surely just a small sampling of such success stories. In focusing on others, members around the world have demonstrated in abundance their belief that Christ truly is the reason for the season. It was awesome to read that article, and I hope each of you will enjoy it as well. That does it for this post. Any and all 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.

Temple Site Possibilities: Philippines Area

Hello again, everyone! While I still welcome any feedback any of you have about anything I have posted about the current and potential future temples in the areas of the Church I have already covered (including and especially the six-part series within that series about the current and potential future temples that might be  announced within the Pacific Area), since I have time to do so, and since it will be the easiest of all the areas of the Church which I already have or will yet discuss, I wanted to take some time and share some observations on the Philippines Area, including a discussion of the four temples in various stages within those areas, and the two possible prospects which I have on my list for the near future. And that, barring anything unexpected, can all be done in one post.

As some of you may be aware, the Philippines Area includes not only the Philippines, but the US owned Northern Mariana Islands. In addition to having two operating temples (in Manila and Cebu City), there are two others that have been announced.

The temple anticipated to serve the Saints in Urdaneta and the surrounding regions was announced just over 7 years ago, during the October 2010 General Conference. Between having to change both the site location and also potentially the temple design and plan, this temple has had the members anxiously waiting for news. I heard through the grapevine that there is a possibility that the Urdaneta Temple will have a site announcement and groundbreaking in the early months of next year.

In the meantime, as we found out in April, the Church has a second temple planned to serve the Saints in the Greater Manila area, and its site (located in the Alabang area of Muntinlupa City) has already been confirmed and inspected by Church engineers. We may or may not see an official name announced and a groundbreaking scheduled for this temple at some point next year, or that may be delayed until the year following.

With that overview out of the way, I wanted to note next that, in addition to those 4 temples, the Church in the Philippines also has 21 missions, 101 stakes and 74 districts, which break down further into 645 wards and 573 branches, for a whopping total of 1,218 congregations.

If we divide that by two, then each currently operating temple serves 609 congregations, which is a lot for just two of them. When the Urdaneta and second Manila temples are dedicated, that will cut that average in half again, to 304.5 congregations. And even that is somewhat overwhelming for a single temple district. That is why I see a couple of other possible additional locations in the near future for the Philippines.

I wanted to move on to discuss first the history of the two temples currently serving this area, then to talk about the current districts, and conclude with my thoughts on how soon we might see other temples announced for this area, and where those might be built.

The temple in Manila was dedicated in the three day period spanning September 25-27, 1984, and was another dedicated by President Hinckley during the years he was the only fully functioning member of the First Presidency under President Kimball's leadership. Its' district includes 67 stakes and 43 districts, which means that this temple district is the largest of the two. And it appears that both the second Manila and Urdaneta Philippines temples will break up that district a bit.

Some stakes within the Cebu City Philippines Temple district may also be pulled away when the other two temples are dedicated. That temple, which was dedicated on June 13, 2010, by President Thomas S. Monson, has a very large district as well, with 36 stakes and 34 districts.

So we can see that the two temples that have been announced additionally are greatly needed. We also know that the Urdaneta Temple is anticipated to be a closer option for those Saints in the Luzon Island area, and that the second Manila Temple will further potentially split the current two and the potential Urdaneta district as well. Admittedly, I do not have a good sense of geography, so I am not sure how all that might play out.

In the meantime, the potential temples I see in the near future for this area might be built in either Cagayan del Oro, or Davao, and I would anticipate a temple in both locations at some point. Future prospects (which are further away) may be the areas covered by the stakes in Bacolod and Quezon City. If I had to narrow that down, I would give my guess that Quezon City and Davao will get temples first. I have had, at different times, either one or the other of them.

But these are just my own thoughts. Be sure to let me know yours in the comments below. That does it for this post. 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.

2017 News In Review

Hello again, everyone! I was just reminded that both the Church News and Mormon Newsroom have provided articles reviewing the news and developments relating to the Church and its leaders in the last week or so. Click here for the article from the Church News and here for the Mormon Newsroom article. There has been so much Church news this year, and so much good the Church has done.

We have seen extensive coverage of the ministry of our apostles (which has included coverage of the death of Elder Hales and President Monson stepping back from an active role in Church leadership, in addition to the apostles' increased presence on social media) developments in the Church's missionary program (with changes in mission rules about scheduling and attirees, missionary safety surveys, and the Church's expressed intention to decrease the number of missions and allow utilization of technology for missionaries in the remaining missions to find religiously-minded people) so much temple news (including 4 temples dedicated, 1 rededicated, 4 others closing for renovation, 3 temple groundbreakings, and 5 new temples announced for Brasilia Brazil, the greater Manila Philippines area, Nairobi Kenya, Pocatello Idaho, and Saratoga Spring Utah), the establishment of BYU-Pathway Worldwide, the consolidation of General Conference sessions, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performing at both General Conferences, President Trump's inauguration, and Pioneer and Christmas Day Concerts, President Trump visiting Welfare Square and praising the Church leaders with whom he met for all the Church does to help its members.

There was also, of course, one negative development, in the excommunication of Elder James J. Hamula in August. But I find it hard to believe that will be the end of his experience as a Church member. In fact, I fervently hope that he has begun or will begin the process of preparing himself to have his blessings restored at the proper time.

And through the news, both good and bad, relating to the Church, I have had the honor of bringing such information to all of you as soon as I have been able to after I have received it. At a time when both my wife and I are having health issues that currently prevent us from living the fullest quality of life we can, the one constant I could count on has been that, whatever I have "sounded off" about, there are so many of you willing to not only read and comment on such subjects, but also to read my responses to such comments, which has, I hope, allowed the opening of a dialogue about important issues.

Some of my favorite posts have been those when I have been able to pass along the latest apostolic statistics, and also the many developments that are occurring on an almost daily basis for temples that are or may soon be under construction. And capping my favorite posts of the year have been the series that is still ongoing about future temple prospects I see in the near future for each of the Church's areas. The thoughtful feedback on all of it has been amazing to see.

What a year it has been for the Church, and for me personally as well. I will continue to do my best to bring you Church and temple-related news and updates as I find out about them. And while I fully intend to do a few more posts as I have time to do so prior to Christmas and, after that, before 2018 is rung in, I just want you all to know how much I have appreciated your readership, especially with all of these reported developments.

That does it for this post. Any and all 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 for a happy, safe, and very Merry Christmas, and pray that the Lord will not only bless each one of you in everything you do, but that you and your families will be especially blessed during this Christmas season to remember that Christ is the reason for the season. This is my heartfelt prayer for each of you.

Updated Estimates for Future Temple-related Events

Hello again, everyone! I wanted to post again today and pass along my updated estimates for future temple-related events, which was necessary to do in view of the news I reported in my last blog post. The estimates follow below. That does it for this post. Any and all 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.

Revised estimated time-frame for future temple-related events:

Sunday January 7: Raleigh North Carolina Temple Renovation Closure (confirmed)
Sunday January 28: Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple Renovation Closure (confirmed)
Monday February 19: Oakland California temple Renovation Closure (confirmed)
Sunday March 4: Washington DC Temple Renovation Closure (confirmed)
April or May: Full-scale construction anticipated to begin on the Winnipeg Manitoba Temple
Sunday May 20: Jordan River Utah Temple Rededication/Mesa Arizona Temple Renovation Closure (both have been confirmed)
Sunday August 12 or 19: Frankfurt Germany Temple Rededication
Sunday October 21 or 28: Concepcion Chile Temple Dedication (160th operating temple)
Sunday November 11 or 18: Barranquilla Colombia Temple Dedication (161st operating temple)
Sunday December 9 or 16: Kinshasa DR Congo Temple Dedication (162nd operating temple)

Mid-April: Memphis Tennessee Temple Rededication
Mid-to-late April: Rome Italy Temple Dedication (163rd operating temple)
Early-to-mid May: Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temple Rededication
Mid-May: Asuncion Paraguay Temple Rededication
Late May-early June: Durban South Africa Temple Dedication (164th operating temple)
Mid-June: Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple Dedication (165th operating temple)
Early-to-mid August: Fortaleza Brazil Temple Dedication (166th operating temple)
Early-to-mid September: Raleigh North Carolina Temple Rededication
Mid-to-late September: October: Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple Rededication
Mid-October: Lisbon Portugal Temple Dedication (167th operating temple)
Mid-to-late October: Arequipa Peru Temple Dedication (168th operating temple)
Mid-November: Oakland California Temple Rededication
Mid-December: Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple Dedication (169th operating temple)
NOTE: There is a slight possibility that the dedications of the new temples in Arequipa Peru and Rio de Janeiro Brazil and the rededication of the Oakland California Temple could potentially be delayed until early 2020. As the next 18-21 months pass, the likelihood of that possibility will be easier to determine, and I will pass all of that along as I am able to do so.

Mid-to-late April: Winnipeg Manitoba Temple Dedication (170th operating temple)
Mid-May: Tokyo Japan Temple Rededication
Early-to-mid September: Mesa Arizona Temple Rededication
Mid-November: Washington DC Temple Rededication

NOTE: I heard that 2018 and 2019 could be big years for temple groundbreakings. If that proves correct, then many other temples could also be dedicated during 2020 and 2021. As the next two years unfold, I will have a better idea of when such events may occur, and they can then be added to the other estimates above.

Completion Estimates Changed for Several Temples

Hello again, everyone! While I hope that any or all of you will continue to feel free to share your thoughts on the content I have posted in the last few days about current and potential future temples within the Pacific Area, I need to deviate from that series yet again to share some game-changing information about completion estimates for temples currently under construction.

What has changed is that the Rio de Janeiro Temple, once anticipated to potentially be dedicated not long after its counterpart, the Fortaleza Brazil Temple, since both the Lisbon Portugal and Arequipa Peru temples have made more consistent progress, Lisbon now takes the spot  once held by Rio, Arequipa takes Lisbon's previous place, and Rio has been moved to the bottom of the list of those currently under construction.

Additionally, while I was once confident that the completion and dedication of the Rome Italy Temple would not occur until the early months of 2019 (rather than before the end of 2018), and since I had to adjust things on my temple construction progress report anyways, I have now put both the Kinshasa and Rome Temples in a new section for temples that could be dedicated between late 2018 or early 2019. I have also put the Arequipa Peru and Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temples in their own section, since they both could be dedicated during late 2019-early 2020.

That said, I still believe with all my heart that the Kinshasa temple will be dedicated prior to the end of next year, and what I have heard, that it is likely that the Rome temple will not be dedicated until the early months of 2019. And given the substantial progress that the temples in Arequipa and, to a smaller degree, in Rio, have had reported, I feel confident that they will both likely be dedicated prior to the end of 2019.

In that regard, however, I am doing my best to keep my eyes open for information, and I will be sure to pass along any further progress and/or changes in completion estimates as I become aware of them. That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated (including and especially those I have done and will do in the series about current and future temple prospects on my list). 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.