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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Closure of 2 Church Visitor's Centers and Changes in the Operation of 1 Other Announced

Hello again, everyone! A spokesman for the First Presidency has been interviewed in response to the announcement from the First Presidency that 2 temple visitor's centers would close, and that 1 other would see some operational changes. So what are the details there? Let's talk about that.

With the previously-announced closure of the Hamilton New Zealand Temple, the visitor's center will be closing simultaneously, also for extensive renovation. And the Church is closing the Park City Family Tree Center here in Utah, which was originally opened to accommodate the crowds that came to Utah in 2002 for the Salt Lake Olympics. No renovation is involved for that center; it is just closing, since other centers have since been established in the Church's Utah Salt Lake City area since that time to serve the Saints and friends of other faiths curious about their family history.

As for the changes in operation for the one other visitor's center, effective December 31 of last year, the London England Visitor's Center is not functioning as a typical Visitor's Center, but instead operates as a waiting area for guests who are not patrons of the London England Temple. The Church's Hyde Park Chapel Visitor's Centre (note the British spelling there) serves those in that area wanting to learn more about the Church and about what is done in temples and in the Church's family history efforts.

This article, which features quoted statements from that Church spokesman, Daniel Woodruff, more or less lays out the details I have shared here. It is awesome to have heard of this news, and I was grateful to have been able to pass it along to you all.

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.

April 2018 General Conference Predictions Alterations: Part Seven--Exploring What the Statistical Report of the Church Might Potentially Look Like

Hello again, everyone! I am back with the seventh part of my series of posts exploring how the statistical report of the Church that will likely be presented during its' traditional spot in the Saturday Afternoon Session of General Conference might look. Hope you enjoy seeing what I have put together. Those figures 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. I intend to cap off this series in a day or two by publishing the updated version of my list of temple site possibilities. Until my next post (whenever that might be), I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.


2017 Statistical Report (some figures projected)
Stakes
3,341
Missions
421
Districts
540
Wards and Branches
30,510
Total Church Membership
16,149,214
Increase in Children of Record
107,166
Converts Baptized
225,859
Full-Time Missionaries
56,745
Church Service Missionaries
35,974
Temples Dedicated during 2017 (Paris France, Tucson Arizona, Meridian Idaho, Cedar City Utah)
4
Temples Rededicated during 2017 (Idaho Falls Idaho)
1
Temples in Operation by the end of 2016
159

Monday, January 29, 2018

April 2018 General Conference Predictions Alterations: Part Six--Changes in General Church Leadership

Hello again, everyone! Based on the deaths of Elder Hales and President Monson since last October, and because the reorganization of the First Presidency, there are wide possibilities that there will be a number of changes in Church leadership, all of which, as noted, are likely to be announced during the Solemn Assembly, which is most likely to occur at the beginning of the Saturday Morning Session and likely will be done by President Dallin H. Oaks

In addition to the changes in the First Presidency and subsequent changes to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, whomever is called to fill the two vacancies in that Quorum will likewise leave other vacancies that may need to be filled. And unless all of those changes lead President Nelson to wait to do so until the following April, the Young Women General Presidency (Sisters Bonnie L. Oscarson, Carol F. McConkie, and Neill F. Marriott) will in April mark their standard five years of service by April and will likely therefore be released.

With all of that in mind, I wanted to present the following revised list of changes that are likely to occur in Church leadership during the upcoming General Conference. They 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.

Predictions for Changes in Church Leadership (will be a Solemn Assembly)
First Presidency: President Russell Marion Nelson sustained as new Church president and prophet, along with his counselors, Presidents Dallin Harris Oaks & Henry Bennion Eyring.
Note on this change: Previous Church President Thomas S. Monson passed away on January 2, 2018, dissolving the First Presidency and necessitating its reorganization. President Nelson was ordained and set apart on Sunday January 14, 2018, and he selected Presidents Oaks and Eyring as his counselors.
Result: The above Brethren were sustained during the solemn assembly.
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: President Dallin Harris Oaks sustained as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; since he is in the First Presidency, President Melvin Russell Ballard Jr. sustained as Acting President of that Quorum; two new apostles sustained in view of the October 1, 2017 death of Elder Robert D. Hales, the January 2, 2018 death of President Thomas S. Monson, and the reorganization of the First Presidency on January 14, 2018.
Note: There was a vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve already, since Elder Hales passed away between the Sunday sessions of the October General Conference. The subsequent death of President Monson 2 days into the new year resulted in a reorganization of the First Presidency, which left 2 vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve. The new apostles could be any current general authority, including members of the Presidency of the Seventy, General Authority Seventies, Presiding Bishopric, Area Seventies, any members the Young Men or Sunday School General Presidencies, or the Church at large.
Result: President Oaks was sustained as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, President Ballard was sustained as Acting President, and Elders and were sustained to fill the apostolic vacancies.
Presidency of the Seventy: If one or both of the new apostles come from this group, they will be released from both the Presidency and as General Authority Seventies, and a new member or two will be sustained.
Note: Of the 13 current apostles, 6 of them were serving in the Presidency of the Seventy at the time of their apostolic calls. So it seems reasonable that at least one of the new apostles could be a member of this Presidency, which would necessitate changes.
Result:                                         
General Authority Seventies: If one or both of the new apostles come from among these men, he will be released. As is typical for the April General Conference, new General Authorities will be sustained from the Area Seventies or the Church at large (including any current mission or temple president).
Note: Of the 13 current apostles, 3 of them (Holland, Eyring, and Renlund) were serving as General Authority Seventies at the time of their call, and two more (Elders Rasband and Stevenson) had been general authority seventies prior to their respective calls to the Presidency of the Seventy and the Presiding Bishopric. So there is a real possibility that one or both of the new apostles could be called from among the current 84 General Authority Seventies who are not in the Presidency of the Seventy. It has also been customary in recent years for any new General Authority Seventies to be sustained in April, so that is likely to occur again.
Result:
Presiding Bishopric: If one or both of the new apostles are called from the Presiding Bishopric, that will, in turn, necessitate changes.
Note: Of the current apostles, we had two that served in the Presiding Bishopric at one point or another (President Eyring prior to his call as a general authority seventy, which in turn preceded his call to the apostleship, and Elder Stevenson, who was serving as Presiding Bishop of the Church at the time of his call). So one or both apostles could come from this body, which, if that occurs, will necessitate changes.
Result:
Area Seventies: Releases and sustainings, especially if the new apostle comes from among these men.
Note: With Elder Bednar being the only apostle sustained as such while serving as an area seventy, there is a possibility that President Nelson could look among those serving currently or who have previously served as such to fill one or both vacancies. It should be noted, however, that no apostle has been called from this group since October 2004, so it is possible but seems unlikely.
Result:
Young Women General Presidency: In view of their having reached their 5 years serving together (which has been the customary time by which most auxiliary presidencies change), Sisters Bonnie L. Oscarson, Carol F. McConkie and Neill F. Marriott will likely be released and a new presidency sustained.
Note: In recent years when the time has come to sustain a new auxiliary presidency, the new president has either been one of the counselors to the outgoing president or one of the current members of the board. There have also been times when a counselor in one auxiliary has been sustained as the new president of a different auxiliary. So the Church has options regarding who could be called. It would also be understandable if a change in this presidency was deferred for six months to a year in view of the reorganization of the First Presidency, the calling of new apostles, and the other changes in Church leadership. That said, even at times when a new Church President has been sustained, the standard tenure of 5 years has been kept. So it seems more likely than not that the Young Women General Presidency will change during this conference.
Result:
Sunday School General Presidency: Possible changes made, if one or both of the new apostles are members of this presidency.
Note: President Russell M. Nelson had served as Sunday School General President from 1971-1979, and his tenure as such ended roughly 5 years prior to his being called to the apostleship. Elder Neil L. Andersen, meanwhile, served in the Sunday School General Presidency while serving as a General Authority Seventy. But aside from these two current apostles, the only other apostles serving in this presidency filled a dual role in doing so (as it was a common practice in the early days of the Sunday School for apostles and/or Church presidents to do so). While that makes it unlikely that one or both of the new apostles could come from this presidency, anything is possible.
Result:
Young Men General Presidency: Possible changes made, if any of these men are called to fill one or both of the current apostolic vacancies.
Note: Aside from Elder Holland, who was released from that assignment roughly 4 years prior to his call to the apostleship, and in the early days of the Church when apostles (and Church presidents) served in this capacity, no other apostles have come from among the members of this presidency. While it is therefore unlikely that one or both of the apostles could be a current or former member of this presidency, it is a possibility.
Result:

April 2018 General Conference Predictions Alterations: Part Five--Details of Speaking Order Alterations

Hello again, everyone! Having set the background for it in my last post, I now wanted to provide all of you with a look at how the information I laid out in previous posts in this series has molded the alterations I have made to the speaking order that I have felt may prevail for next April's General Conference. The altered predictions 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.


Speaking Order (Text in brackets indicated what actually happened.)
Session
Conducting
Speaker
Saturday Morning
President Russell M. Nelson
President Dallin H. Oaks
(Solemn Assembly Sustaining of Church
Officers)


President M. Russell Ballard


Reyna I. Aburto


Elder Gerrit W. Gong


Elder Massimo De Feo


Elder Ronald A. Rasband


President Henry B. Eyring
Saturday Afternoon
President Dallin H. Oaks
Kevin R. Jergensen (Church Auditing
Department Report, 2017)


Brook P. Hales (Statistical Report,
2017)


Elder D. Todd Christofferson



Bishop Dean M. Davies


Elder Paul B. Pieper


Elder Dale G. Renlund


Elder Larry Echo Hawk


Elder Brian K. Taylor


Elder David A. Bednar
Saturday Priesthood
President Russell M. Nelson
Elder Gary E. Stevenson


Douglas D. Holmes


President Henry B. Eyring


President Dallin H. Oaks


President Russell M. Nelson
Sunday Morning
President Russell M. Nelson
President Dallin H. Oaks


Elder Quentin L. Cook


New apostle #1


New apostle #2


Elder Neil L. Andersen


President Russell M. Nelson
Sunday Afternoon
President Henry B. Eyring
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf


Elder Patrick Kearon


Christina B. Franco


Elder Taniela B. Wakolo


Elder Jeffrey R. Holland


Elder Anthony D. Perkins


Elder Taylor G. Godoy


President Russell M. Nelson

April 2018 General Conference Predictions Alterations: Part Four--Overview of Speaking Order Alterations

Hello again, everyone! I am back with part 4 of my series on altered predictions for this next General Conference. In this post, I will be sharing my overall alterations for the speaking order during this conference.

A couple of notes before I do so: there are a lot of unknowns here, including who might be called to the apostleship. If the new apostles are any of the other speakers listed below, then someone else will speak in the spot I have set aside for them. Second, members of the Presidency of the Seventy have typically spoken in either the Saturday Morning, Priesthood, or Sunday Morning Sessions (with two members of that Presidency speaking).

With that in mind, the altered pattern for the Sunday Morning Session will necessitate the member of that Presidency speaking in a different session, and since the Sunday Afternoon session has recently yielded some addresses from the Presidency of the Seventy, it would make sense to have one member of that Presidency speak in that session this time.

Next, with a few exceptions, the two speakers from the women's auxiliary presidencies have typically spoken in the Saturday and Sunday Morning Sessions. With the Sunday Morning Session this time anticipated to feature all apostolic speakers, it made sense to shift the second female representative to the Sunday Afternoon Session.

In connection with that, the only reason we heard from four general officers last October was primarily because President Monson couldn't be there. With a new Church president who is, by comparison, much healthier and better able to function, I do not anticipate we will hear from any more than three general officers during this General Conference, and I believe those talks will occur in the Saturday Morning, Priesthood, and Sunday Afternoon Sessions.

I wanted to next observe that the members of the Presiding Bishopric in recent years have alternately spoken in the Saturday Morning, Priesthood, or Sunday Morning Session. But the members of the Presiding Bishopric during President Hinckley's tenure as Church president (and at times during President Monson's tenure) were assigned to speak during the Saturday or Sunday Afternoon Sessions. After considering my options there, it seems to make the most sense to have the representative from the Presiding Bishopric (unless he is called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles) speak during the Saturday Afternoon Session.

As far as other speakers, the difficult thing to know about the General Authority Seventies is how many might speak in each conference session, and who to put where. In my case, I have placed priority on Elder Massimo De Feo, who is the one General Authority Seventy called in April 2016 that has not yet spoken in General Conference. I then interspersed veteran General Authorities that had not spoken in General Conference during the last 5-6 years with the remaining 3 Seventies sustained in April 2017 that have not yet spoken to us.

I hope my overview of the reasoning behind what I have done relating to predicting other speakers has been helpful to at least some, if not all, of you. 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.

April 2018 General Conference Predictions Alterations: Part Three---Quorum of the Twelve Speaking Order

Hello again, everyone! I am back with the third post in the series I am doing to cover how the changes in the leading quorums of the Church have changed my predictions for the April 2018 General Conference. In this post, I will share an updated version of the table I keep updated to show how recently each current member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has spoken in each of the five general sessions of General Conference.

Before I do so, I am proceeding on the assumption that, as stated in an earlier post, we will have two members each of the Quorum speak during the Saturday Morning and Sunday Afternoon Sessions, 3 others in the Saturday Afternoon Session, 1 during the Priesthood Session, and the remaining 4 (including the two newest Quorum members) during the Sunday Morning Session.

Based on what that table shows, I present the following as the likely order in which the current members of the Quorum of the Twelve may speak during this next General Conference.


SAM
SAA
SPH
SUM
SUA
Ballard
Oct 2015*
Apr 2017
Apr 2015
Oct 2016
Oct 2017
Holland
Oct 2017
Apr 2017
Oct 2016
Apr 2015
Apr 2016*
Uchtdorf
Oct 2017 (FP)
Apr 2017 (FP)
Oct 2017 (FP)
Apr 2017 (FP)
Apr 2007*
Bednar
Oct 2013
Apr 2016*
Apr 2017
Oct 2017
Oct 2016
Cook
Oct 2015
Oct 2017
Oct 2014
Apr 2016*
Apr 2017
Christofferson
Oct 2017
Oct 2016*
Oct 2012
Apr 2016
Apr 2017
Andersen
Oct 2016
Apr 2017
Oct 2015
Apr 2013*
Oct 2017
Rasband
Apr 2014 (Pres of Seventy)*
Oct 2017
Apr 2010 (Pres of Seventy)
Apr 2017
Oct 2016
Stevenson
Apr 2016
Oct 2017
Oct 2012 (PB)*
Oct 2015
Apr 2017
Renlund
Apr 2017
Apr 2015 (GA Seventy)*
Oct 2017
Oct 2015
Oct 2016
New apostle #1
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A*
N/A
New apostle #2
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A*
N/A 















Ballard
SAM1
SAM
Ballard (1 is 1)*
Holland
SUA2

Rasband (8 is 2)
Uchtdorf
SUA1
SAA
Christofferson (6 is 3)
Bednar
SAA3

Renlund (10 is 4)
Cook
SUM4

Bednar (4 is 5)
Christofferson
SAA1
SPH
Stevenson (9 is 6)
Andersen
SUM1
SUM
Cook (6 is 7)
Rasband
SAM2

New apostle #1 (11 is 8)
Stevenson
SPH

New apostle #2 (12 is 9)
Renlund
SAA2

Andersen (7 is 10)
New apostle #1
SUM2
SUA
Uchtdorf (3 is 11)
New apostle #2
SUM3

Holland (2 is 12)

When adding the number of the apostle who spoke to the number representing the order in which they are, is the resulting figure odd or even?       
Odd: 7
Even: 5   

As you can see, since President Ballard has not spoken during the Saturday Morning Session within the last four General Conferences, so it would make sense to me if he was the first speaker following the Solemn Assembly. And since Elder Rasband is the only other known Quorum member that has not spoken in that session within the last four General Conferences (and has thus also not done so at all since his call to the apostleship), it seems safe to assume that he will be the other apostle to speak during that session.

Meanwhile, Elders Christofferson, Renlund, and Bednar seem to be the three most likely to speak during the Saturday Afternoon Session. Elder Renlund has not spoken during that session since his call to the apostleship, though he did so as a General Authority Seventy in the conference prior to his call. 

And since it has been a while (if it has occurred at all) since an apostle who has not spoken in the Saturday Afternoon Session has been the first speaker when that first opportunity comes, it is a near certainty (but not guaranteed) that Elder Renlund will not be the first member of the Quorum to speak in this session.And since the last Quorum member to speak in that session has typically been one of the four most senior Quorum members, by process of elimination, Elder Renlund is more likely to be the second member of that Quorum to speak during that session.

Between Elders Bednar and Christofferson, only Elder Bednar is among the four most senior members of that Quorum, so if the pattern holds, he would be the last of the three to speak, which, by process of elimination, leaves Elder Christofferson as the most likely of the three to speak first.

Regarding the priesthood session, before last October's general conference, I indicated that, while it was traditional for new apostles to speak during the priesthood session within 2-4 conferences following their call, I was unsure how soon we might see Elders Rasband, Stevenson, and Renlund give their first addresses in that session. Elder Renlund was asked to do so last time, and with him and Elder Rasband potentially speaking in the prior two sessions, that leaves only Elder Stevenson, so it seems likely that he will represent the Quorum in speaking during this Priesthood Session.

With the two new apostles likely speaking during the Sunday Morning Session, that leaves the identity of the two veteran apostles that might also speak during that session unknown. With only Elders Holland, Uchtdorf, Cook, and Andersen left, we see on the chart above that Elder Andersen spoke in the Sunday Afternoon Session last October, and Elder Cook did the previous April, so that leaves Elders Holland and Uchtdorf for the Sunday Afternoon Session.

And with Elders Andersen and Cook therefore being the likely veteran apostles to speak during the Sunday Morning Session, the question is, which of the two might be the first Quorum member speaking in that session. Since it has been somewhat traditional in previous instances when four members of that Quorum spoke during this session for the more senior of the two to speak last, some may think it would be logical to assume that Elder Andersen will speak first. 

But in looking back at the history from which this information was assembled, in April 2013, Elder Andersen was the first of the two members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to speak during that session. And Elder Cook was the last of the two Quorum members to speak during the Sunday Morning Session in April 2016. 

With all of that in mind, it makes more sense to me that Elder Cook, who spoke last last time, would speak first, and that Elder Andersen, who spoke first last time, would be last this time.

That brings us to the final session of this General Conference. Since, as already noted, Elders Holland and Uchtdorf make the most sense as the probable two speakers in that session, the question becomes, which of the two might speak first? Since it has been longer since Elder Uchtdorf spoke in that session, it would make sense if he were the first of the two to speak during that session for this conference. 

Some may contend that the last time Elder Holland spoke in this session, the fact that he was the last of the Quorum to do so for that conference should necessitate a switch this time, but the fact that Elder Uchtdorf has spoken in that session less recently outweighs that argument, in my opinion.

But this information is no more and no less than my own personal opinion. 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.