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Sunday, December 24, 2017

Temple Site Possibilities--South America Northwest Area, Part Five--Exploration of Candidate Cities for Colombia's Third Temple

Hello again, everyone! I am back yet again to share my thoughts about two potential candidate cities in which Colombia's third temple might be built. With one temple currently operating in Bogota, and one other under construction in Barranquilla (which, as we know, is anticipated to be dedicated during the fourth quarter of next year), the candidates on my list are Medellin and Cali. Each of the two cities have a mission established. Let's now explore the merits of each.

Firstly, the Saints living in the city of Medellin are 261.1 miles from the Bogota temple. Since the temple in Barranquilla would be 439 miles exactly from that city, odds are more likely than not that the Medellin Saints will remain part of the Bogota district after the second temple in that nation is dedicated. So Medellin qualifies based on the mileage factor. Since I am not good with geographical matters, I am not sure how many other units might be served by a potential temple in Medellin, but such a temple would, at minimum, serve the two stakes based in that city, and also those in the surrounding region, which would be a respectably-sized district.

As for the merits of a potential temple in Cali, the Saints in that city currently travel 286.7 miles to attend the Bogota temple. Since the temple in Barranquilla will be further away from Cali (the distance being 700.5 miles), the three stakes in Cali will likely remain in the Bogota district. With three stakes within that city, a Cali temple would serve the 16 wards and 1 district based in Cali, and any other stakes in the surrounding region.

Just by way of comparison, the distance between Cali and Medellin is  269.1 miles, so a temple in either city could likely serve both. But which one might we see first? Whichever one is first, might the Church announce the other while the construction process is underway on the first? How likely might it be that both are announced at the same time, even if their construction timetables differ? Let me know your thoughts in the comments 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 (which will come shortly to discuss the possible candidates for yet another temple in Peru and also a potential second one for Venezuela), 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: South America Northwest Area, Part Four--Overview of Potential Temple Locations & Exploring the Most Likely Candidate for Bolivia's Second Temple

Hello again, everyone! I am back yet again, with what I intended to be the final post covering the South America Northwest Area, and in this one, we will explore my personal list of those candidate cities which I have felt could potentially get a temple, and the exploration of factors relating specifically to the likely location of Bolivia's second temple. Because of the volume of detail involved, I will need to defer discussion of the merits of other locations in subsequent posts about this area.

I have felt that the following cities could have a temple announced in the near future: Santa Cruz or La Paz Bolivia;; Cali or Medellin Colombia, Cusco or Iquitos Peru. and possibly  Maracaibo Venezuela. As I mentioned above, I will take the rest of this post to explore the two Bolivian candidates, then do other posts about those in Colombia, another for Peru, and a final post for Venezuela/ 

So, could Bolivia get a second (and possibly a third) temple in the near future? As noted in the previous post, the Cochabamba temple district takes in 32 stakes and 8 districts in Bolivia, along with 3 additional stakes located in Southeastern Peru. As I looked into the options, Santa Cruz and La Paz made the most sense as candidates for Bolivia's next two temples. Why is that, which might be announced first, could they be announced at the same time, and, if one of them is announced first, how soon might the other be? All of those questions are interesting to consider. Before exploring the answers I have found, as I noted previously, the two cities each have two missions within their boundaries.

Let's look at Santa Cruz first. The Saints in Santa Cruz currently travel 295.7 miles to reach the Cochabamba temple. A temple in that city would, at minimum, serve the 9 stakes headquartered there, drawing away at least the 54 wards and 3 branches, for a total of 57 congregations which are based in that city. Even though I am not familiar with Bolivian geography, I would imagine that other nearby Church units would also benefit from a temple in Santa Cruz.

Turning now to the merits of a temple in La Paz, that city is located 235.4 miles from Cochabamba, and would be almost double that distance from a Santa Cruz temple (with the exact mileage being 528.1). A temple in La Paz would, at minimum, take in the 5 stakes based in the city, which would serve, at minimum, the 31 wards and 8 branches, or 39 congregations, to say nothing of any of the surrounding congregations.

So my first question for any who would like to comment is, which of the two seems more imminently likely? And if both have an equal likelihood, do you think the Church might opt to announce them at the same time, or construct one and announce the other while the construction of the first continues? I could easily see any scenario for these cities, and I look forward to your feedback.

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: South America Northwest Area, Part Three--Composition of Current Temple Districts

Hello again, everyone! I am back with my third of four posts covering the South America Northwest Area. In this post, I will be discussing the composition of the current temple districts, detailing how many stakes and districts are served by each. Let's get right to it.

First of all, to me, it makes sense to approach this subject methodically, So we will start with the Arequipa, Lima, Los Olivos and Trujillo Peru temples, then turn our attention to the Barranquilla and Bogota Colombia Temples, followed by the Guayaquil and Quito Ecuador Temples, then finish with the Caracas Venezuela and Cochabama Bolivia Temples.

Starting in Peru and working chronologically, we first take a look at the Lima Peru Temple. That district currently comprises 73 stakes and 11 districts from Central and Southern Peru and the Peruvian Amazons. The temple district will be broken up somewhat when the Arequipa Peru Temple is dedicated, and will be further divided once the Los Olivos Temple is constructed and dedicated. It will be most interesting to see how those divisions occur.In the meantime, the Trujillo temple district, by comparison, is much smaller, as it takes in 25 stakes and 8 districts from the northern part of Peru.

The Bogota Colombia Temple takes in 28 stakes and 10 districts within Colombia, and that district will be divided once the Barranquilla Colombia Temple is dedicated (which is, as previously noted, anticipated to occur late next year). Again, it will be interesting, to be sure, to see how that division plays out.

As for Ecuador, the temple in Guayaquil serves the Saints in 39 stakes and 1 district from Ecuador, in addition to 1 stake and 1 district from the southwestern portion of Colombia. With the Quito temple anticipated to divide that district somewhat, it will be interesting to see what happens in that regard.

We now come to Caracas Venezuela, where the temple in that city serves 34 stakes and 6 districts. Again, the subject of whether or not an additional temple could be built in this nation to more evenly disperse those stakes and districts will be discussed in my next post.

And that brings us to the Cochabamba Bolivia Temple, which serves 32 stakes and 8 districts in Bolivia, in addition to 3 other stakes from southeastern Peru. That district is not perhaps as much in need of a split, but I will address if and how I feel that could happen in the next post.

As this wraps up my examination of the current districts within the South America Northwest Area, 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 (which should come shortly and will discuss my thoughts about potential future temple locations, which will wrap up my discussion of this area), 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: Temple Site Possibilities: South America Northwest Area, Part Two--Overview of Church Units and Temple History

Hello again, everyone! As I advised you all that I might do, I have changed my thinking since putting the last post up, and I now believe it will be more effective for my purposes to focus this post on how many units this area covers within the five countries which fall within those areas (which again are Bolivia, Colombia,Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela), as well as a review of the history of the six temples operating.

 That in turn will be followed by a third post focusing on the size of the current temple districts, and a fourth post capping off my coverage of this area will explore the possible future locations for which I have felt a temple will be announced in the near future.

With that said, I would like to pass along to you the information I have been able to gather about the number of missions, stakes, districts, and congregations (wards and branches) within each of these 5 countries that comprise this area. We will be discussing those 5 in the same order I listed above.

So, let's start with Bolivia. The one temple in that nation was dedicated on April 30, 2000 as the 82nd operating temple of the Church. President Gordon B. Hinckley, under whose leadership so many smaller temples were built starting in 1997 (and to some degree is still continuing in areas where it is more practical to have a smaller edifice), presided at the dedicatory services for the temple.

Bolivia has five missions within its boundaries: two each in La Paz and Santa Cruz, and 1 in Cochabamba, where, as noted, the only temple currently serving that nation is located In terms of congregational numbers, Bolivia has 32 stakes and 8 districts, which in turn comprise 187 wards and 68 branches, for a total of 255 congregations. As noted, I will go into specifics about the Cochabamba district in my next post.

Turning our attention now to Colombia, the temple in Bogota became the 57th operating temple in the Church when it was dedicated by Church President Gordon B. Hinckley during a three day period spanning April 24-26, 2000. The nation is also the home of 5 missions of the Church, 2 of which are located in Bogota, with the other three in Barranquilla, Cali, and Medellin.

In terms of congregations, there are currently 29 stakes and 11 districts which are further divided into 169 wards and 82 branches. Because the total number of congregations currently stands at 251, it is easy to see why the Church is building a second temple for the nation in Barranquilla. If we divide that number of congregations between the two, each temple would serve 125-126 congregations. That will be a better scenario for the Saints in Colombia, but is there a reason to believe the Church could announce another temple or two for Colombia in the near future? That will be explored in more detail in my final post for this area.

We now move on to Ecuador. As noted in the previous post, the one operating temple in that area had a 14-year wait between its announced and subsequent groundbreaking, one of the largest such time periods in Church history. The one good thing about that is that, once the groundbreaking occurred, the temple was constructed fairly quickly, and it was dedicated during August 1-2, 1999, again by President Gordon B. Hinckley, making it the 58th operating temple of the Church.

As for the number of Church units, the Church in Ecuador has five operating at the moment, 3 of which are based in Guayaquil, with the other two in Quito. With 39 stakes and 9 districts, the congregational tally, including 236 wards and 67 branches, comes to a grand total of 303. Once the temple in Quito is built and dedicated, between the two, the congregational average for each temple will be 151-152. In my final post covering this area, I will offer my thoughts regarding whether or not Ecuador needs another temple.

For now, we turn our attention to Peru. As noted in my previous post, the Church has temples in operation in Lima and Trujillo. The first was dedicated as the 38th operating temple of the Church between January 10-12, 1986, and President Gordon B. Hinckley presided at this dedication as well.  The interesting thing with that dedication is that President Hinckley had been asked by President Kimball to preside over the services prior to President Kimball's death on November 5, 1985. When President Benson succeeded President Kimball as prophet 5 days after the latter's passing, the new Church president allowed President Hinckley to fill that last assignment from his prophetic predecessor.

It was not until June 21, 2015 (almost 30 years after the Lima dedication) that the second Peruvian temple was dedicated in Trujillo. By that time, President Monson was not able to preside at temple dedications, so he assigned President Uchtdorf to preside at that temple's dedication.  It became the Church's 147th operating temple.

In addition, a third temple for Peru is under construction in Arequipa, and will either be dedicated during late 2019 or early 2020. Also as noted in the previous post, the Los Olivos temple was announced last year to help serve the Saints in Lima, which is the Peruvian capital city, and if all goes well, a site announcement and groundbreaking may occur within the first half of next year.

Peru's four temples aside, the nation has 13 operating missions serving its people, 5 of which are in Lima, with 2 others in Trujillo, and 1 each in Arequipa, Chiclayo, Cusco, Huancayo, Iquitos, and Piura. Additionally, Peru has 101 stakes and 19 districts, which are further divided into 618 wards and 129 branches, for a total of 747 congregations. If we divide that number by the 4 temples, then each covers an average number of 186-187 congregations. Could we see another temple in Peru? I will discuss that more fully in my final post covering this area.

We now come in our discussion to Venezuela, the last nation alphabetically in this area. When its only temple was dedicated on August 20, 2000 by President Hinckley, it became the 96th in operation worldwide. Home to four missions of the Church (which are located in Barcelona, Caracas, Maracaibo and Valencia), there are currently 34 stakes and 6 districts within that nation. Its congregations, which include 195 wards and 51 branches, total 246 in number. Since that is a large district, could the Church split it with a second temple to serve the nation? More on that in my final post for this area.

Having discussed all of this, the next task will be to go into specifics about the 6 temples which currently serve the district. Since that is a discussion requiring its own post, that does it for this one. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. 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: Temple Site Possibilities: South America Northwest Area, Part One--Area and Temple Overview

Hello again, everyone! While I am not anticipating many views for my blog during the next two or three days, since my wife and I will be spending our 7th Christmas together stuck at home with illness, I have time to continue my series of posts about potential temples. As we begin the discussion of the final five areas of the Church which I have not covered, we come to the two other areas of the Church in South America.

As most of you are likely aware, South America is another substantially-sized continent, and, as such, the countries within it cover large areas. The Church has established three of its areas to cover the nations in South America. Since we have covered the first of those earlier on in this series, (the nation of Brazil is sizable enough and has enough of a Church presence that it is its' own area), that leaves us with the South America Northwest and South America South areas, which cover the remaining nations of that continent.

The next several posts I will do in this series will explore the first of those, the South America Northwest Area. My current plan in beginning the coverage of this area is to do three posts for it; this first one will provide an overview of this area and the temples in it. That will be followed by a second post for this area, in which I will share a history of the dedications of those temples and the composition of each of those districts, and my third and final post for this area will be discussing the potential locations for which I have felt that the Church could announce new temples. If it turns out that I need to do more than the three posts, I will be sure to let you know of any additional ones that are necessary. With that said, let's get right into it.

The Church's South America Northwest Area covers the nations of Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. In terms of temples, this area has 10 temples in various stages: 6 in operation (including the Bogota Colombia, Caracas Venezuela, Cochabama Bolivia, Guayaquil Ecuador, and, in Peru, the Lima and Trujillo Temples.

Two others are currently under construction in Barranquilla Colombia (which is anticipated to be dedicated during the 4th quarter of 2018) and Arequipa Peru (which may either be dedicated in late 2019 or early 2020).

And the final two temples in this area were both announced in April 2016 for Quito Ecuador and Lima Peru (which, as we know, will be the second temple in that city, and will be known as the Lima Peru Los Olivos Temple).

While there has been no indication of a site announcement or groundbreaking date for either temple, we do know that the contractor for the latter said in March of this year that it would take a year of preliminary planning for the site before a groundbreaking could take place.

This means that we could see that temple have a site announced and a groundbreaking within the first half of 2018. Speaking optimistically, I believe that will happen sooner rather than later. As for the Quito Ecuador Temple, while I don't know exactly when we might see progress there, I do not believe that this second Ecuadoran temple will be subject to anywhere near the 14-year delay that occurred between the site announcement and groundbreaking for the first temple in that nation (which was built in Guayaquil).

This wraps up my introduction to this area and the current and future temples that serve the Saints within its boundaries, so 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 (which should come later today), I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

Final Apostolic Age and Tenure Updates for 2017

Hello again, everyone! In the early morning hours of Christmas Eve 2017, I am back with a post that I hope will be a very special gift for many of you to read. The last time I offered a detailed report on the latest apostolic statistics was almost two months (exactly 7 Sundays) ago.

Since that time, there have been a lot of changes in those statistics, including several milestones that were marked. I am excited to share these updates in this post, and I hope the information I will be providing herein will be interesting to most of you. That said, if any of you are not interested in reading on, I wouldn’t be offended if you opt to skip this post.

For those of you that are interested in these details, I first want to note that all the figures and data I will be presenting is, as always, current as of today. That said, today’s report of that data will start, as always, with some information on 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, 5 months, and 21 days, and in view of that length, has become the 16th longest-tenured Quorum President, a milestone he reached on December 18 of this year, having served longer than Harold B. Lee.

As I promised in the last update 7 weeks ago that I would subsequently do, with the end of 2017 drawing near, I wanted to mention the next tenure milestones President Nelson will observe, and when they will each occur. The first will take place in just three weeks, when he will become the 15th longest serving President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles one January 14, 2018, two weeks to the day after 2018 begins, making his tenure as Quorum President longer than that of President Marion G. Romney.

Quick sidenote here regarding President Romney. After serving as a counselor in the First Presidency under Presidents Lee and Kimball, he returned to his place in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and, as the next senior apostle after President Benson, was set apart as the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

But because he was of an advanced age and had ill health, President Romney could not function in any way as the Quorum President. So President Hunter was set apart as the Acting Quorum President, marking the only time in Church history that an Acting President was not called because the Quorum President was simultaneously serving as a member of the First Presidency.
                                                                                                                                          
Sorry about that deviation from the subject at hand, but I thought that was important to note. Getting back to President Nelson’s tenure milestones as Quorum President, aside from the one he will reach in three weeks, he will only reach the next milestone to become the 14th longest serving Quorum President just over a year and a half after that, with the exact date being Wednesday August 7, 2019. If both he and President Monson are still alive at this time, then President Nelson will take the spot currently held by the first President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in Church history, Thomas B. Marsh.

Moving on, we next will explore where President Monson stands in terms of his tenure length and age among the other 15 Church Presidents of this dispensation. Today marks 9 years, 10 months, and 21 days since he was ordained and set apart as Church President. Since he has not observed any additional milestones related to his tenure length, he is still the 8th longest-serving Church President. As of today, he is also 90 years, 4 months, and 3 days old. So he remains currently the 7th oldest of the 16 Church Presidents.

As for upcoming age and tenure milestones, the next three he will observe are more spread out. It is more likely than not that he will for sure live long enough to reach the first such milestone, which will occur on Friday March 30, 2018, when he will have lived longer than President Kimball.

He will mark the next milestone less than 11 months later, when, on Saturday February 23, 2019, the length of his life will exceed that of Wilford Woodruff, becoming the 5th oldest president in the Church’s history.

And his next tenure milestone will be marked on Tuesday December 10, also in 2019, when he will become the 7th longest-serving president in Church history. For all three of these upcoming milestones, they will obviously not be reached by President Monson if he passes away at any point prior to reaching them, which I think goes without saying.

Moving on now to a discussion of the updated apostolic statistics, since there has been no change in our current First Presidency, they remain the third-longest continuously-serving First Presidency 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.

With that information shared, we can move on to talk about the specifics relating to the long form and decimal versions of the ages of our 14 current apostles, since the Church has yet to call someone to fill the apostolic vacancy occasioned by the October 1 death of Elder Robert D. Hales.

President Monson is, as noted above, 90 years, 3 months, and 4 days old, which puts his decimal age at 90.34. Meanwhile (again, these are current as of today), President Eyring is now 84 years, 6 months, 24 days, which is 84.57 years. And President Uchtdorf, who is the youngest First Presidency member currently, is 77 years, 0 months, and 18 days, which puts his decimal age at 77.13. The First Presidency has a combined life experience of 252.04 years, which puts the average age of the three at 84.01 years.
                                                                                                                          
As noted above, because there is currently a vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve, there are 11 members. As for their current ages, President Nelson is now 93 years, 3 month, and 15 days old, with a decimal age of 93.29 years. Elder Oaks stands at 85 years, 4 months, and 12 days old (with a decimal age of 85.37 years). Elder Ballard has reached the age of 89 years, 2 months, and 16 days old (which is 89.21 decimal years) as of today. Elder Holland, who observed his birthday three weeks ago, is currently 77 years, 0 months, and 21 days old, making his decimal age 77.06 years.

Elder Bednar’s age in long form is now 65 years, 6 months, and 9 days, which puts his decimal age at 65.53 years. Elder Cook, who is older than both President Uchtdorf and Elder Holland, has reached the age (in long form) of 77 years, 3 months, and 16 days old, which makes his decimal age 77.29 years. With exactly one month to the day between this Christmas Eve and Elder Christofferson’s 73rd birthday, his long form age is 72 years, 11 months, and 0 days old, which means his decimal age is now 72.92 years. Meanwhile, for Elder Andersen, he is now 66 years, 4 months, and 15 days old, which makes his decimal age 66.38 years.

We have now come to the three newest apostles, though I anticipate that the current apostolic vacancy will be filled during General Conference next April. As for the ages of those three, we first have Elder Rasband, who will celebrate his 67th birthday on February 6, which is just short of 2 weeks (exactly 13 days) after Elder Christofferson marks his 73rd birthday.

This means Elder Rasband is currently 66 years, 10 months, and 18 days old, making his decimal age 66.88 years. Elder Stevenson, who is currently our youngest apostle (though that may or may not still be true after the newest apostle is called), has a long form age of 62 years, 3 months, and 18 days old, which puts his decimal age at 62.38 decimal years.

Before moving on to discuss Elder Renlund’s long-form and decimal age and the other information I want to share in this post, I wanted to note something which I find interesting regarding the decimal ages of Elders Andersen, Rasband, and Stevenson. Because Elders Rasband and Stevenson were both born on the 6th (with the former born in February and the latter in August), their decimal ages are almost always .5 years apart.

Elder Andersen, meanwhile, was born on August 9. Because his birthday is three days after Elder Stevenson’s, there are days like today when the hundredths of a year in his decimal age both match that of Elder Stevenson and are .5 years less than Elder Rasband’s decimal age.

But since the decimal ages of our apostles increase by .01 years every 3 or 4 days, there are days when only two of the three relate in this way, and there are other days when the hundredths of the year for all three of them are different. Just thought that would be an interesting tidbit to pass along.

With all of that said, Elder Renlund, the least senior but second youngest apostle, is 65 years, 1 month, and 11 days old as of today, which means his decimal age is now 65.11 years. So the 11 members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have a combined life experience of 821.42 years, putting the average age of those 11 at 74.67 years. Our 14 apostles have a grand total of 1073.46 years of life experience, which puts the average age of each of them at 76.68 years.

We now turn our attention briefly to a discussion of our apostolic nonagenarians. President Nelson, who is, as noted above, 93 years, 3 months, and 15 days, ranks as the 7th oldest apostle in Church history, a milestone he officially reached a few days ago. He will not become the 6th oldest apostle until Saturday July 6, 2019, over a year and a half from now.

With President Monson being, as noted above, 90 years, 4 months, and 3 days old, he remains the 17th oldest apostle in Church history. Assuming he lives long enough to do so, he will observe a few more milestones next year. To give you an idea of what those are and when they will occur, if he is still alive on Thursday March 29, he will become the 16th oldest apostle, taking the spot now held by Spencer W. Kimball. Less than a month later (on Monday April 23), he will have outlived President Marion G. Romney to become the 15th oldest apostle. Less than two months after that (on Thursday June 14), his age will exceed that of President Boyd K. Packer, which would make him the 14th oldest apostle. The next milestone he will observe as a nonagenarian will only occur on Monday February 11, 2019, at which time his lifespan will have exceeded that of Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, making him the 13th oldest apostle in Church history.

As I have previously observed in similar updates of the past, the one unknown element in terms of the list of nonagenarian apostles is whether or not President Monson will outlive President Nelson. The latter, though just less than three years older, seems to be in considerably better health, so President Nelson could go on to be the next Church president if and when President Monson passes away. It will be interesting to see what happens in that regard.

The other 12 apostles will take varying lengths of time to join the list of nonagenarians, from Elder Ballard, who will do so in 9 months, and 14 days, to Elder Stevenson, who will do so in 27 years, 7 months, and 13 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 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 hope that each of you will have a very Merry Christmas, and that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.