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Friday, June 29, 2018

Additional Temple Progress Reported

Hello again, everyone! I continue to share the latest updates I have on a variety of subjects. This post will cover some of the latest temple developments of which I have become aware. Let's get right into it.

First, I wanted to note an update on where the Church stands in terms of potentially having 200 operating temples by Saturday April 6, 2030, which will mark the Church's bicentennial anniversary. As there are still 41 temples that would need to be dedicated in the 11.77 years between now and then, if the Church dedicates an average of 3.48 per year during that time, that could easily occur.

As I have also noted, with this year only seeing 2 dedications, since there will be 5 or 6 in 2019, and at least 3 the following year that we know of so far, it is likely that there will be at least 170 temples in operation by the time there are 10 years remaining until that bicentennial, and since that would leave 30 others that would need to dedicated that average would go down to at most, 3 per year. And since we are very likely to see several other temples dedicated in the years following that, I have no doubts the Church could manage that, whether or not an official goal is made to do so.

And that is not taking into account the temples that will likely have a groundbreaking within the next two years and beyond, along with others that will be announced. So I see no scenario that would prevent the Church from having 200 temples by that date, whether or not an official goal is made to do so.

That said, I have two other updates, both for new temples currently under construction. As I noted two days ago, the angel Moroni statue was installed at the Fortaleza Brazil Temple. The LDS CHurch Temples Facebook page provided some additional photographs that have been submitted from that day. I am still trying to figure out the likely possibility of the Fortaleza Brazil Temple potentially being dedicated before the Kinshasa DR Congo Temple and will post more on that once I know more in that regard..

The other update relates to the Lisbon Portugal Temple, where scaffolding has been removed from the adjacent meetinghouse, and where trees and shrubs have been added to the temple grounds. As always, I continue to monitor all temple developments and will do my level best to bring word of those to you as I receive them.

That does it for this post. Any and all comments continue to be both 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.

Elders Gerrit W. Gong and Ulisses Soares Meet with Media

Hello again, everyone! This will be the first of at least three or four posts which I will be publishing here over the next several hours to pass along the latest Church news and temple updates, since there have been a number of significant developments in that regard. In this, the first of those posts, I wanted to pass along some very interesting information I found out about late last night but have not been able to blog about before now.

As most (if not all) of you are aware, the Church has customarily held a press conference to allow the media to introduce newly called First Presidency members or members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and to allow media representatives the opportunity to ask them questions on all subjects that are of interest to everyone around the world.

Prior to the January 2018 press conference for President Nelson and his counselors, the last such event was held in October 2015 to introduce newly-called Elders Rasband, Stevenson, and Renlund. And, as was recently observed in another post on this blog and the comments responding to it, Elders Gerrit W. Gong and Ulisses Soares did not have that chance, at least initially.

But late yesterday, reports indicated that the newest apostles had met for two hours with local and national media representatives to respond to questions and to talk about their first three months in the apostleship. Two reports of those interviews were carried in the Church News and on Mormon Newsroom (with the latter also carrying a brief video summary of those interviews).

Not surprisingly, the interviews covered topics such as how they were adjusting to their new callings, the paramount support of their wives and families, their extensive international experience that, in many ways, helps them relate very well to the needs of members worldwide, and the kindness of both members of the Church and their fellow apostles, including and especially President Nelson.

But my two biggest takeaways from these reports had a profound influence on me. I am sure I knew this already, but apparently, when new apostles come into the Quorum of the Twelve, one of their senior apostolic colleagues mentor them to help them transition well to the new responsibilities and opportunities. Elder Christofferson is mentoring Elder Gong, while Elder Andersen serves as a mentor to Elder Soares.

Above and beyond that, however, is the significant fact that, for the first time that I can recall, the new apostles shared with the media a complete list of their current assignments. As I have previously noted, it used to be standard procedure in the late 1990s and early 2000s for the Church Almanac to share details of the specific assignments held by each of the apostles, but by the time I started purchasing the Church Almanac in 2005 or so, those details were no longer included.

Sometimes, through various sources, information has been provided as to some of the assignments held by the current members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are detailed, but we have not had a full list of individual assignments for the apostles in at least the last decade or so. This may go back to what I have previously said about President Nelson's efforts to promote more transparency in terms of Church matters.

But I digress. Elder Gong has the following assignments: He chairs the Church Scripture Committee, and is a member of both the Leadership and Training Committee and also the Outreach Committee. He has additionally been assigned as a member of the Priesthood and Family Council, and has been given supervisory responsibility for the Church's Asia & Asia North Areas.

Before detailing Elder Soares' assignments, I wanted to note that, while it may seem somewhat irregular to some that such a junior member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is chairing a committee, Elder Gong's wide experience as both an educator and one who has lived and worked in many nations uniquely qualifies him to oversee efforts to get the scriptures translated into additional languages. And the fact that he both has Asian ancestry and has lived and worked in various Asian countries makes him uniquely suited for those area assignments he has been given.

Getting back to Elder Soares, he has been assigned to serve on the Missionary Executive Council (as I noted yesterday) and also on the Human Resource Councils, and he has been given an assignment to oversee the Central America and Africa West Areas of the Church. Prior to his service in the Presidency of the Seventy, Elder Soares was president of the Africa Southeast Area, so he has no small familiarity with how the Church is progressing on the African continent.

I had reported earlier this week that Elders Andersen and Soares recently traveled through the Africa West Area together, which makes sense, since Elder Andersen is serving as mentor to the junior apostle, and since Elder Soares is supervising the Africa West Area.

I apologize. This post ran a lot longer than I had anticipated it would. That does it for now. 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.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Updated Information Provided on the Seminar for New Mission Leadership

Hello again, everyone! I wanted to post now to share some big news that has come out of the coverage of the Seminar for New Mission Leadership. The Church continues the tradition of having all members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles participate in that seminar in some way. As noted in previous reports (specifically from my coverage of last year's seminar), some apostles have been given the opportunity to speak with their wives to those new mission leaders.

So the first thing I wanted to mention is that Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and his wife spoke together to these new leaders. Their address focused on the most important character mentioned in the pages of the Book of Mormon. Elder Holland mentioned that when he asked people who they thought that character was, he got a lot of the standard answers you would expect: several of the prophets whose words had a great impact.

But he noted that none of those answers were correct. The most important figure mentioned in the Book of Mormon is our Savior, Jesus Christ, who is mentioned both in the subtitle of the Book of Mormon, and is mentioned very frequently within its' pages. Elder and Sister Holland went on to highlight and emphasize how important that book should be to all Latter-day Saints, but particularly those who are involved in the Church's missionary efforts.

That address also provided some interesting information of which I was not aware. Apparently at some point in the recent past, Sister Holland had to deal with an illness which she described as "nearly fatal". She noted that while she was comforted and cared for by Elder Holland to the extent that he could do so, there were times when, due to his ecclesiastical obligations, he could not be with her.

So during those times, she ensured her Book of Mormon was always close by. She said that the doctors doubted she would survive, but that she was able to because of her faith in the principles of the gospel that are taught so well within the Book of Mormon's pages. There were several other significant things Elder and Sister Holland shared during their address, and you can read more on that in this article.

In the meantime, the Church News section on lds.org also continues to carry coverage of the seminar, with subsequent articles being added to this article as they are published. Among the many significant things covered in that main story was the note that Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf spoke on both the opening and closing days of the seminar, and that he was asked to do so because he chairs the Missionary Executive Council.

When I learned that information, I did some research, and I found out that the reason then-Elder Oaks gave addresses to open and close last year's mission president's seminar was because he was the chair of the Missionary Executive Council at that time.

As I noted in mid-January of this year, among the key assignments that Elder Uchtdorf was given following his return to the Quorum of the Twelve was oversight for the Church's two European areas, and that those assignments had previously been held by President Nelson and then-Elder Ballard.

And since Elder Uchtdorf also was asked to take over the assignment to chair the Missionary Executive Council from now-President Oaks, we see that the key assignments he has been given were previously the responsibility of the three most senior members of the Twelve prior to the reorganization of the First Presidency. If that is not a clear indicator of the trust the senior apostles have in Elder Uchtdorf, I don't know what would clarify that point further.

But there was something even more interesting in the "home article" for coverage of the seminar. The article cited above also notes the membership of the Missionary Executive Council, which is as follows: Elders Dieter F. Uchtdorf, D. Todd Christofferson, Neil L. Andersen, and Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; General Authority Seventy and Executive Director of the Missionary Department Elder Brent H. Nielson, Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric; Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women General President; and Sister Cristina B. Franco, Second Counselor in the Primary General Presidency.

I find this information significant for one simple reason. As some of you may know, in the 1990s and early 2000s, when the Deseret News published the Church Almanac every year, it had been somewhat common for the biographies of the Quorum of the Twelve to include details of their memberships in the councils and committees of the Church. By 2005 (at which point I made sure to buy the newest edition of that almanac every year), that information was not included.

And until now, except for articles published by the Church that identified certain assignments of the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, we have not seen any complete lists of all Church leaders who serve on those councils and committees. So the fact that we now have that complete list of the members of the Missionary Executive Council is very noteworthy.

Although the page to which I shared a link above will carry full coverage of the other addresses that were given during the Seminar for New Mission Leadership, I will also do my level best to bring you coverage of individual articles as they are published.

That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time and also for wading through the content in this post, which was longer than I originally intended it to be. 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.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Temple Updates Provided

Hello again, everyone! The LDS Church Temples Facebook site has provided some exciting updates within the last 12 hours or so. Picture updates have been posted for the Rome Italy, Concepcion Chile, Baton Rouge Louisiana, and Washington DC Temples, and a video has been posted showing progress on the Mesa Arizona Temple. Major progress has also been reported for the Durban South Africa Temple.

But perhaps the most significant development is the report that the angel Moroni statute has been officially installed atop the Fortaleza Brazil Temple. As we have previously seen occur for other temples worldwide, once that statue is officially installed, a dedication is announced not long after that.

With that said, I would anticipate that the Church would defer making an official announcement in that regard until after the annual July recess for the General Authorities. And it is very likely that the dedication itself may take place in the late spring or early summer months of 2019. But this development is very exciting indeed. I continue to monitor all temple developments and will bring word of those to you ASAP after I learn of them.

In the meantime, it may also interest some of you who have expressed concerns about the LDS Church Temples website being unavailable still to know that a projected window of late summer 2018 has been offered regarding how much longer that site restoration will take place. I am sure that any additional prayers we can offer in behalf of those working to solve those issues would continue to be appreciated.

That does it for this post. Any and all comments are alo, 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 Cook Speaks At Devotional Held During the New Mission Leadership Seminar

Hello again, everyone! After a pretty busy day, I wanted to share this report covering remarks given by Elder Quentin L. Cook at a devotional that was held during the New Mission Leadership Seminar last Sunday.

Elder Cook spoke about the 4 most important relationships that should mold the service of missionaries around the world: with their companions, with the people among whom they labor, with the mission president and matron, and, most importantly with the Lord. He also talked about how those relationships should be established, cultivated, and strengthened.

To illustrate this point, he referenced experiences he had during his own missionary service, which included time he spent as a companion of his future fellow apostle Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, and their service under two exceptional mission presidents. One of those two was Elder Marion D. Hanks.

If I may, I would like to offer a quick sidenote about Elder Hanks. As some of you may be aware, his service as a mission president was rendered while he simultaneously served in the now-defunct First Council of the Seventy. He would go on to serve in another now-defunct position of Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles prior to being called to the First Quorum of the Seventy, and had two distinct opportunities to serve in the Presidency of the Seventy.

Elder Hanks was well trusted by the First Presidency, and that trust is amply demonstrated by the fact that two missionaries that served under his leadership are now colleagues in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

At any rate, Elder Cook's advice to mission presidents about the 4 most important relationships a missionary should cultivate applies just as fully to us as members of the Church who desire to have a positive influence on all those with whom we come in contact.

For those of us who are married, our relationships with the Lord and with our companions should rightly be of the utmost importance to us, and all of us also need to love and sustain the general and local leaders of the Church in their labors and demonstrate love to those over whom we have stewardship, whether as a result of any formal or informal calling, or in our assignments to minister to our fellow Saints.

With that said, for what it's worth, this concludes my report and analysis of Elder Cook's remarks. There may be other articles worthy of our attention that have been published within the last 24 hours. I will perhaps take some time to focus on those later today (Wednesday June 27, 2018), and to pass those along within the next 12-18 hours or 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, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Additional Church News Updates

Hello again, everyone! I am posting again now to share some additional Church news updates of which I have become aware just recently. We start on somewhat of a somber note, as the Church News has reported the death of another emeritus General Authority, Elder W. Mack Lawrence, who served as a General Authority Seventy from December 1990 until his death (he was released from general Church service in October 1996), passed away at age 91.

Some of you may remember my mentioning that, although it has been tradition for members of the First Quorum of the Seventy to be granted emeritus status at age 70 and for members of the Second Quorum to be released after roughly 5 years of service, it was reported in October 2015 that several former members of the Second Quorum had been sent letters from the First Presidency designating them as emeritus General Authorities as well, which is why the Church News referred to him as such in the article about his death.

Although he only served for around 5 or 6 years, he filled many assignments for the Church. He also gave two excellent addresses in General Conference during that time. Since I was very young during his service period, I have no personal recollections of seeing him or hearing him speak, but it sounds like he was a very remarkable man.

The Church News also shared this report about how the Gateway Arch renovation, which took $380 million to accomplish, underscores the vital role of Church history. And as the Tabernacle Choir continues their tour, Elder Donald L. Hallstrom joined them for a special sacrament service yesterday in San Francisco. More on that is shared here.

Again, I continue to monitor all Church and temple news and will do my level best to pass along such developments as I learn of them. 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.

Elder Uchtdorf Identifies "Bullseye" For Which Every Missionary Should Aim

Hello again, everyone! While I was putting the previous two posts together, apparently another report came in about the 2018 New Mission Leadership Seminar. This article shares comments from Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf. As many of you may recall, shortly after the First Presidency was reorganized, Elder Uchtdorf received several key assignments, one of which was to chair the Missionary Executive Council.

As one in charge of worldwide missionary matters, Elder Uchtdorf focused his remarks on the bullseye for which every missionary should aim. That bullseye is created by the two commandments which the Savior identified as being the most important ones: Loving God and serving our fellow man. Elder Uchtdorf went on to discuss how missionaries can and should be doing that. It was a remarkable address, the summary of which is well worth your attention.

Again, I continue to monitor all Church and temple developments and will bring word of those to you all as I receive them. 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.

President Nelson Gives Address Opening the New Mission Leadership Seminar

Hello again, everyone! As many of you may know, new mission presidents and their wives begin serving in their new assignment on or around July 1 of every year. So generally, the Church holds a seminar for the newly called couples during the last week of June. This year was no different, as the 2018 Seminar kicked off yesterday with a Sacrament Meeting that featured an opening address from Church President Russell M. Nelson.

There is one significant change this year to the seminar that may have been long overdue. Whereas this event has previously been known as the "Seminar for New Mission Presidents", the Church will now refer to it as the "New Mission Leadership Seminar". This is a very appropriate change, as it acknowledges that the role of the mission presidents' wives are just as important, if not more so, than the role of the mission presidents themselves.

President Nelson highlighted the importance of the Book of Mormon in the conversion process, and the blessings that can come to missionaries worldwide as they continue to study it. He also spoke of the role that priesthood blessings have in the mission field, and mentioned that focusing missionary efforts on highlighting the doctrine of Christ yields the greatest results. You can read more about his specific remarks in this article from the Church News.

I will continue to monitor coverage of this seminar over the next week or so and will bring those and all other Church and temple developments to you all ASAP after I receive word of them. 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.

CORRECTION: Winnipeg Manitoba Temple Status

Hello again, everyone! I am posting right now to correct inaccurate information I provided in an earlier post regarding the status of the Winnipeg Manitoba Temple. The last time I posted an update on that temple, I had reported that a construction fence had been put up in preparation for the commencement of full-scale efforts.

But in double-checking some information today, it appears that the earlier report should have noted that site grading and clearing was underway, and that it was only today that the construction fence was officially installed. I apologize for the unintentional misinformation and will do my best to report future developments correctly going forward. I continue to monitor all such developments and will bring word of those to you ASAP.

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 pot, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Additional Church News Reported

Hello again, everyone! There have been several additional Church News stories published within the last 12-24 hours that I have felt may be of interest to some of you. So this post will pass those developments along to you all.

The first piece of news I wanted to pass along relates to updates that have been added to the latest edition of Preach My Gospel. As some of you may recall, that volume was originally published in 2004, and since that time, several Church leaders have given additional insights into effective missionary work that have been included in the new edition of that volume.

The Church News section on lds.org has also shared this article highlighting the opening concert held during the Tabernacle Choir's "Classic Coast Tour"/Turning now to articles from the LDS Church News website, there are quite a few to discuss. In a word where there are many voices competing for our attention on a day-to-day basis, at times, it may be easy for some of us to doubt ourselves and the strength and depth of our faith. The Church News shared three responses about how to deal with those feelings when they come.

BYU holds a "Religious Freedom Annual Review" every year. This year, the keynote address was given by Elder L. Whitney Clayton, Senior President of the Seventy, who, as some of you may know, is a descendant of William Clayton, an early Saint and pioneer who wrote the hymn "Come, Come Ye Saints"/

Elder Clayton particularly touched on the importance of our faith in our identities, and discussed why Latter-day Saints have the responsibility to protect religious freedom for those of all faiths. There has also been an article published about the Saints in Rome Italy who are anxiously awaiting the opening of the temple in their city, an event that has been 45 years in the making.

Turning our attention now to the ministry of apostles past and present, Gerry Avant continues her series of articles taking a retroactive look back at her experiences and memories of Church News she has covered over her long and prestigious career. She wrote about how an unexpected comment from President Hinckley during the dedication of the Mexico City Mexico Temple not only changed the spirit of those sessions, but also served to verify that the veil between this world and the spirit world is at times very thin.

And finally, the "Inside the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles" series continued this week with statements and experiences cited from every member of the Quorum which demonstrates what it's like to be a prophet, seer, and revelator, not just to Church members, but to the world as a whole.

I hope that many of you have found this analysis of these developments helpful. 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.

New Presidents Called for Two More Temples

Hello again, everyone! Earlier today, the Church News noted the call of two more temple presidents, who will begin serving later this year in the Asuncion Paraguay and Cordoba Argentina Temples. I was particularly surprised that a new president has been called for the Asuncion temple, since that one is currently closed for renovations that, as far as I have been able to ascertain, have not yet formally begun.

This brings the number of temples which have had a new president announced to a total of 56, and I have 2 or 3 others remaining on my list of those temples for which a new president may be announced, not including the temples that are now scheduled for dedication, or that may soon have a dedication announced.

Regarding those new temples, I should also note that, given that the first new temple dedication this year will be occurring in around 4 months, I am hoping we will shortly hear the first presidents announced for the Concepcion Chile, Barranquilla Colombia, and Rome Italy Temples. But depending on the progress (or the lack thereof) on the Kinshasa DR Congo, Fortaleza Brazil, and Port-au-Prince Haiti Temples, any of them may have a new president announced as well.

I am again posting an updated list of temples for which a new president has been or may be announced, which follows 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 pot, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

New presidents have been called for the following temples:
1.      Manaus Brazil
2.      Boise Idaho
3.      Denver Colorado
4.      The Hague Netherlands
5.      Oquirrh Mountain Utah
6.      Helsinki Finland
7.      The Gila Valley Arizona
8.      Brigham City Utah
9.      Stockholm Sweden
10.  Palmyra New York
11.  Accra Ghana
12.  Papeete Tahiti
13.  Sao Paulo Brazil
14.  San Jose Costa Rica
15.  Albuquerque New Mexico
16.  Provo City Center
17.  Recife Brazil
18.  Cardston Alberta
19.  Payson Utah
20.  Porto Alegre Brazil
21.  Brisbane Australia
22.  Kansas City Missouri
23.  Oaxaca Mexico
24.  Regina Saskatchewan
25.  Cebu City Philippines
26.  Boston Massachusetts
27.  Colonia Juarez Chihuahua Mexico
28.  Billings Montana
29.  Houston Texas
30.  Sydney Australia
31.  Guatemala City Guatemala
32.  Hermosillo Sonora Mexico
33.  Montevideo Uruguay
34.  Indianapolis Indiana
35.  Laie Hawaii Temple (the new president of this temple is the older brother of General Authority Seventy Elder Donald L. Hallstrom)
36.  Las Vegas Nevada
37.  Atlanta Georgia
38.  Buenos Aires Argentina
39.  Redlands California
40.  Draper Utah
41.  Tijuana Mexico
42.  Sacramento California
43.  Monticello Utah
44.  Bountiful Utah
45.  Freiberg Germany
46.  Oakland California
47.  Villahermosa Mexico
48.  Manti Utah
49.  Suva Fiji
50.  Vancouver British Columbia
51.  Tegucigalpa Honduras
52.  Fukuoka Japan
53.  St. Louis Missouri
54.  Trujillo Peru
55.  Asuncion Paraguay (not anticipated)
56.  Cordoba Argentina

The first presidents will likely be announced for the following new temples:
1.      Concepcion Chile
2.      Barranquilla Colombia
3.      Rome Italy
4.      Kinshasa DR Congo
5.      Fortaleza Brazil
6.      Port-au-Prince Haiti

New presidents may also be announced for the following temples:
1.      Taipei Taiwan
2.      Veracruz Mexico

3.      Washington D. C. Temple (Note: The Church may opt to wait on calling a new president for this temple until 2020 when it is rededicated)

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Church News Updates

Hello again, everyone! There have been a few new articles published on the Church News website and on Mormon Newsroom which I wanted to pass along. So let's get right into those. First, the Church News continued its' series of articles on the new leaders called during the April General Conference. Mot recently, an article was published about Elder Takashi Wada, and it was interesting to learn more about him and the path that led to his current assignment.

The Church News and Mormon Newsroom's blog both provided similar information about how the volume featuring discourses by Latter-day Saint women has now been made available in Spanish and Portuguese, which, after English, are the second and third most common languages spoken by Church members worldwide. And the translations of that volume are the first non-English volume published under the trademark Church Historian's press. This is yet another example of how the Church has expanded on a global scale.

I continue to monitor all Church and temple news and will do my level best to continue bringing word of those developments to you all as I receive them. 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 pot, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

Temple Updates Provided

Hello again, everyone! Some additional temple updates have been brought to my attention which I wanted to pass along today. So let's get right into those. I first wanted to provide an update on where the Church stands in terms of having 200 operating temples by Saturday April 6, 2030. Between today and that date, there are now 11.79 years remaining. With only 11 other temples needing to be announced for the Church to have 200 in any stage, and the 30 temples currently in various stages of construction, that will be possible as long as the Church dedicates roughly 3.48 temples per year.

Just to reiterate, the 2 temples that will be dedicated later this year will be below that average. But, as I also have previously noted, there are a total of 6 temples that will likely be dedicated next year (1 of which already has a dedication announced), which will be above that average.

And although it is rare to get through the first half of any year without a temple groundbreaking occurring, I would anticipate that the Church will announce the groundbreaking for at least the Bangkok Thailand Temple prior to the end of this year, and I have offered my opinion that it could occur in November. The Lord has also been known to surprise us with temple groundbreaking announcements that were not anticipated, so I am not ruling that out as a possibility either.

That said, let's officially get to the updates. The Facebook page for the LDS Church Temples site posted some photographs earlier today showing progress on the Rome Italy Temple, which can be found here.

The other two updates I wanted to note in this post relate to temples undergoing renovations. A report has come in noting that scaffolding is now in place around the exterior of the Oakland California Temple. In the meantime, the renovation process for the Mesa Arizona Temple has progressed as well, with demolition activities officially underway.

I continue to monitor all temple developments and will, to the best of my ability, pass word of those along to you all as I receive them. 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.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

First Presidency Announces New Guidelines for Youth Interviews

Hello again, everyone! In this report released by Mormon Newsroom around half an hour ago, the First Presidency announced revised guidelines for youth interviews. As some of you may recall, in an earlier news release, the Brethren noted that these updated guidelines would shortly be published. And with the news release today, we got a look at what has changed.

Hopefully these revisions will enable the youth of the Church to be more comfortable and confident when such interviews are conducted. The guidelines also emphasize the importance of greater preparation on the part of youth, their parents, and the leaders who are conducting these interviews. There is also a specific paragraph advising all Church leaders to avoid circumstances that might be misunderstood.

I continue to monitor all Church news and temple updates and will continue to bring those to you all ASAP after I learn of them. 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.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Church Issues Statement on Families Separated at the Border; Tabernacle Choir Embarks on "Classic Coast Tour"

Hello again, everyone! The Church News reported just a short while ago that the Church has issued an official statement on the separation of families at the US border. The full text of that statement can be found here. It is my fervent hope that the leaders of all governments, especially here in the US, will heed the petition for reason and fairness in this matter.

While Church leaders are typically neutral on political matters, they are justified in expressing their view that the separation of families at the border should not be occurring. It is my personal and fervent hope that both major parties in the US and their leaders will unitedly work to correct a situation that should never have arisen. It seems that the current approach, at least here in the US, is for both sides to shift blame onto the other side, while neither takes responsibility for affecting real change. And that is certainly not an ideal situation when families are needlessly separated from each other.

I would invite all my readers to join with me in praying for those who are making the decisions in this regard, that reason and compassion will prevail, and that efforts will be made by all concerned to cooperate rather than continuing to squabble and play the blame game.

In happier news, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir embarked today on their 2018 "Classic Coast Tour", and the initial report on that can be found here. I continue to monitor all Church news and will do my level best to pass word of developments along as I receive it.

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 thaat the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

Temple Updates Provided

Hello again, everyone! I wanted to post again now to pass along some temple updates. To start off our discussion of those developments, I wanted to first note an update on something which I have referenced repeatedly on this blog. As long-time readers of this blog may recall, I have previously offered my opinion that the Church will likely have a minimum of 200 operating temples by or before Saturday April 6, 2030, which will mark the Church's bicentennial celebration.

As I have also noted, there are 30 temples currently scheduled for dedication, under construction, or announced, and the total number of temples in any phase has now reached 189. This means that, for the Church to reach 200 temples in any phase, only 11 others need to be announced. The amount of time between today's date and the date mentioned above is now 11.80 decimal years. That means that the Church would need to dedicate an average 3.47 temples per year.

By way of reminder, there will only be 2 temples dedicated prior to the end of this year (unless something unexpected occurs), which is below that average I mentioned. But next year, the Church has already scheduled one temple dedication, and 5 others will likely be dedicated during 2019 as well. So 8 temple dedications in a 2-year period of time puts 2018 and 2019 above that average.

And that is, of course, not taking into account that 3 temples so far are anticipated to be dedicated in 2020. Additionally, any announced temples that have a groundbreaking within the next 18 months may be dedicated in 2020 and in the following years, so I have no doubt that, whether or not the Church makes an official goal to do so, there will be a minimum of 200 temples operating by that time, or perhaps even more than that.

That said, let's talk about some updates on the status of a couple of temples. The Church has identified 11 stakes, 1 district, and 2 missions throughout Italy and the surrounding nations that will be served by the Rome Italy Temple once it is dedicated next year.

And there has also been a change in the status of the Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temple renovation, where recent reports indicate that the spire is being sheathed. It appears that this temple is definitely on track to have its' renovation process completed within the first half of next year, and that a dedication will likely follow sometime between the beginning of May and the end of August.

While the LDS Church Temples site continues its' restoration process, all of us can easily keep up-to-date on temple developments via the Facebook page for that site. In the meantime, I continue to monitor all temple updates and Church News to the best of my ability, and I will pass those updates along to you all ASAP after I become aware of them.

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.

BREAKING NEWS: Church to Publish Unified New Editions of The Hymnbook and Children's Songbook

Hello again, everyone! Big news from the Church today. It has been announced that, in an effort to more fully unify Church members worldwide, plans are underway to completely revise both the hymnbook and the children's songbook. The intention is to provide one unified book of each that will have the same hymns or songs with the same numbers in all nations where the Church is established.

This also means that some of the lesser-known and more infrequently used hymns may be omitted in favor of hymns that are popular all around the world, and opens the possibility of some hymns and songs that are international staples being added to the new editions for all Church members.

For the first time ever, the Church is inviting feedback from members worldwide about this process. You can read more in this article, which was published by the Church News about 3.5 hours ago. I continue to monitor all Church and temple developments and will pass those along to you as I receive them.

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.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Additional Temple Updates Provided

Hello again, everyone! As some of you may be aware, although the LDS Church Temples site is still undergoing a restoration and redesign process, updates have continued to be published periodically on the site's Facebook page. So I am pleased to be able to pass these updates along to you all now.

First, I wanted to note that there are now 11.81 years remaining between today's date and April 6, 2030, when the Church will celebrate its' bicentennial anniversary. Although there has been no change in terms of the number of temples which, on average, would need to be dedicated between today and that day in order for the Church to have 200 in operation by that time, I hope that this update may be of interest to some of you.

That said, let's talk about the updates I mentioned. To commemorate the start of the season within which the Mormon Miracle Pageant will be held in Manti, two articles have been shared, and you can find links to those on the aforementioned Facebook page. Next, I wanted to note that scaffolding has come down from the exterior of the Concepcion Chile Temple.

 Additionally, on that same Facebook page referenced above, you can view a panoramic video for the Barranquilla Colombia Temple, which was shot to show how it looked at night. And the final update I have found is that, although the extent of the progress is unclear, recent photographs, which were also posted on Facebook, show that work on the Fortaleza Brazil Temple continues at a steady pace.

It is worth noting here that, although I have taken more time in recent days to keep tabs on the aforementioned Facebook page so I can pass these temple updates along to you all, I have been giving myself an extended break from Facebook as part of my efforts to deal with some significant health issues I have been working to resolve. Some of those issues have included anxiety and depression, which I am working through to the best of my ability.

But long before President Nelson issued a challenge to youth worldwide to "take a break from fake" by participating in a seven-day "social media fast", I made the determination to cut back substantially on the amount of time I spend on Facebook. As a consequence, I have only been logging on to Facebook once or twice a month, if it has even been that frequently, and generally only long enough to pass along links to these blog posts. So if any of you have connected with me through Facebook and have wondered why I have not been on there recently, that is the reason.

I have found, however, that keeping tabs on Church and temple news and sharing those developments to the extent that I can has helped me in dealing with the anxiety, depression, and other health challenges. And I have certainly experienced more difficult things previously. So I am well enough for the moment, if not as well as I would like to be. And I will do my level best to continue to bring you all word of Church news and temple developments as I am able to learn more about them.

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.

Additional Church News Reported: Part Two

Hello again, everyone! I am back with the second post I mentioned just a few moments ago, which will serve as the second part of my updates on recently reported Church News. So let's resume our discussion of those items.

Gerry Avant, who, as mentioned previously, is the recently-retired Church News editor, continues her series of articles taking a look back on highlights of her storied career. Although she will not be traveling with the Tabernacle Choir on their "2018 Classic Coast Tour", she shared how the Church's role in Russia was changed for the better through the Choir's 1991 European Tour.

Interestingly enough, then-Elder Nelson and his first wife Dantzel, who was a member of the Choir at that time, accompanied the Choir on their tour. As I have mentioned previously, for a number of years during his apostolic ministry, including during his tenure as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, President Nelson had the supervisory responsibility for the Europe East Area. In that capacity, he traveled to Russia many times.

It was likely his familiarity with Eastern Europe in general and Russia in particular that enabled him to be inspired to announce a temple for Russia, and I would not be surprised in any way if, because he has spent so much time there, he is able to facilitate expedited progress on finding a city and a specific site for that temple and the process of building it.

To round out the discussion of articles from the Church News, there are two more significant ones. In preparation for Father's Day this Sunday, the Church News published an article highlighting comments from the First Presidency about how their fathers had impacted their lives. And the Church News continued another series that has been published recently by sharing these highlights of Facebook posts by Church leaders.

Turning now to a few articles from Mormon Newsroom, this report highlights ongoing relief efforts underway by Church members following a volcanic eruption in Guatemala. Next, a Mormon Newsroom blog post highlights significant stories from the branches of Mormon Newsroom operating in other countries.

That same Mormon Newsroom Blog also shared this summary of a Family History event held at the Capitol building in California, which was held in honor of "Juneteenth." For those not aware of this, Juneteenth, which is observed on June 19th every year, marks the day on which a festival is held by African Americans to commemorate the emancipation of slaves on that day in 1885.

And finally, President Nelson continues to be honored for his prestigious career as a heart surgeon. Yesterday (June 15), the University of Utah's School of Medicine announced it had created the Dr. Russell M. Nelson and Dantzel W. Nelson Presidential Endowed Chair in Cardiothoracic Surgery.

This is a well-deserved honor. Although President Nelson had pioneered newer, better, and more effective heart surgery procedures, it was his first wife Dantzel who, following the demise of one of the patients he had operated on, encouraged him to continue to operate and perfect that process so that others would not have to experience the grief that he was going through. And this honor is fitting since he was able to perfect life-saving practices that had not been successfully employed prior to that.

I continue to monitor all Church and temple news and developments, and will do my level best to bring those to you as I become aware of them. That does it for this post. Aneny 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.

Additional Church News Reported: Part One

Hello again, everyone! There were a few other noteworthy Church News stories that have recently been reported, so I thought I would share those in this post. The Church News reported a few days ago that Presiding Bishop Gerald Causse was in New Zealand recently to supervise the transition of the position of the director of temporal affairs for that nation. You can find a report of that trip here.

Next, we have two articles about FamilySearch developments. That organization is bringing a museum focusing on the American Revolution to a location next to the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple. More specific information on that is provided in this article.

It has additionally been reported that  Also, in an effort to ensure that all are more fully able to find members of their family tree, FamilySearch additionally noted that they will begin to provide records of same-sex couples starting next year, as explained here.

If you all will indulge me for a few minutes, I want to interject some editorial comments here. Some critics of the Church may be inclined to ask why this genealogical arm of the Church is doing this when the Church has continued to affirm its' opposition to same-sex unions.

The fact of the matter is that the Church has had a long-standing practice of encouraging everyone to trace their familial connections. And while the Church does not condone, support, or sanction such unions, the Church also believes in obeying, honoring and sustaining the law.

So because such unions have been sanctioned as legal here in the US, and are legal in other parts of the world, those who may in any way be considered as a product of such unions have an equal right to trace their family lines that is no different from that of anyone who has no same-sex couples in their ancestry. You can read more about the reasoning behind this move and what it will involve in this article/

The Church News continues its' series "From the Vault", which takes a look back at important addresses given by Church leaders in years gone by. This week, that address was given in February 2000 by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. The setting was a BYU devotional, and the title of his remarks was "How Do I Love Thee?"

I have had a couple of opportunities to read that address, and it is a real masterpiece. You can either read the summary of that address in the Church News or the full address from the BYU Speeches Vault. And if you are really ambitious, it may be illuminating to read both.

The Church News also took the opportunity to share further responses from the youth of the Church worldwide as a result of President Nelson's address to them on June 3, this time passing along some feedback from young women.

The Church News additionally noted that an update of the Church's Media Library app is now available. And the articles about newly called Church leaders have continued as well, with one published earlier today about new General Authority Seventy Elder Juan Pablo Villar.

As some of you may know, President Boyd K. Packer lived in Brigham City Utah for many years, and he taught seminary there and was a big part of the process of getting a temple built and dedicated in that city. The Church News published an article about how an organ that was beloved to President Packer was restored by a former plumber.

There is more news to cover, but I will do so in a new post so that this one doesn't become too cumbersome. That does it for now. 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 everyting you do.

Friday, June 15, 2018

New President & Matron Announced for the Trujillo Peru Temple

Hello again, everyone! This will be just a very quick post to pass along news that the First Presidency has called a new president and matron for the Trujillo Peru Temple. This brings the total number of temples that have had a new president announced this year to 54, which cuts down the number of temples that may still get a new president to 3 or 4 (as I have the Cordoba Argentina, Taipei Taiwan, Veracruz Mexico, and (possibly) the Washington DC Temple on that list).

I would also anticipate that, at minimum, the Church may soon announce the first presidents for temples that will be dedicated within the next year. Right now, that would include Concepcion Chile, Barranquilla Colombia, and Rome Italy Temples, but depending on when the dedications of the Kinshasa DR Congo, Fortaleza Brazil, and Port-au-Prince Haiti Temples are announced, those are also on my list of temples that may soon have a new president announced.

I continue to monitor all temple developments and will do my level best to pass those along to you all as I receive them. 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.

Elder David A. Bednar Marks His 66th Birthday Today

Hello again, everyone! After a very busy day for me personally, I am back to do the first of two or three posts I will be publishing by the end of the day today. As some of you may recall my mentioning, today marks the 66th birthday of Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

So let's get in to some details about his life experiences. David Allan Bednar was born on June 15, 1952 in Oakland California to Anthony George and Lavina Whitney Bednar. His mother came from a long line of Latter-day Saint ancestors, but his father was not a member of the Church. Despite that fact, Anthony Bednar fully supported the rest of his family participating actively in the Church, and he would often step in and participate in meetings and Church activities, including various service projects.

One major highlight of Elder Bednar's life came long after his marriage. Although he frequently asked his father when he would be baptized, his father replied that he would do so when he felt it was right. Anthony called his son one day and asked, "Would you be free on (and he named a date in the near future)? I would like you to come and baptize me." He was able to baptize, confirm, and ordain his father to the priesthood.

Elder Bednar served a mission in southern Germany, and some may recall the late President Boyd K. Packer recounting in General Conference a story of how he was in Germany and a young missionary gave him money, which he was able to use to get through border security. That young missionary was David A. Bednar.

Elder Bednar attended BYU-Provo, where he earned a bachelor's degree in communication and a master's in organizational communication. He went on to earn a doctoral degree in organizational behavior from the prestigious Purdue University.

He met Susan Kae Robinson at an activity for young adults. He recounts that they were playing flag football, and that he threw a pass, which she caught, and that, incidentally, was the only time she could remember catching a pass. This impressed him, and the two started dating not long afterward. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple on March 20, 1975, and would go on to raise 3 sons together.

For a four-year period (1980-1984), he was an assistant professor of management at what was then the College of Business Administration at the University of Arkansas. He spent the next two years as an assistant professor at Texas Tech University, after which he returned to Arkansas, where he served first as the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, then the Director of the Management Decision-Making Lab. During this time, he was recognized with numerous awards as being an outstanding educator.

He also had a few ecclesiastical responsibilities within the Church at around the same time. He spent several months as a bishop, then went on to serve first as the president of what was then the Fort Smith Arkansas Stake, then as the first president of the newly-established Rogers Arkansas Stake. During the final months of his service as a stake president, he was called to serve as a regional representative.

In 1997, he was among the first men called to be an area seventy. That same year, he was also called to serve as president of Ricks College, during which time he led the transition of that college to BYU-Idaho. His tenure in that assignment came to an end on December 1, 2004, roughly one month following his call to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He and fellow apostle Dieter F. Uchtdorf were called to fill the vacancies created by the July deaths of Elders Neal A. Maxwell and David B. Haight 10 days apart. Interestingly enough, Elder Bednar joined only two other current apostles (now-Presidents Nelson and Oaks) who were called to the apostleship without having previously served as a general authority.

Elder Bednar's tenure as an educator has molded how he speaks as an apostle. One of his hallmarks is to invite the Holy Ghost to bless him and us as we listen to his remarks. In view of his almost-14-year tenure in the apostleship, he has given 28 General Conference talks, which are always well crafted and insightful, and are well worthy of review by all of us.

At the time of his call to the apostleship, Elder Bednar, at age 52, was the youngest apostle to have been called since then-Elder Dallin H. Oaks came to the apostleship at age 51 in 1984. He is currently the fourth most senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (which makes him the 7th in overall apostolic seniority), and is the eighth oldest current member of the Quorum (which means he is the 11th oldest current apostle).

While I have never had the honor to meet him personally, I can fully attest to the validity and inspiration of his apostolic call, and it is significant that after just 14 years in the apostleship, he is within the senior ranks of that apostleship. Some have voiced their opinion that Elder Bednar might one day preside over the Church, and I concur that that is a very likely prospect. Given that he is in such a senior position at this point, and given that only six current apostles are more senior to him, unless something very unexpected happens, he is sure to be with us for at least the next two or three decades.

I hope this post has served as a fitting tribute to this remarkable servant of the Lord. That does it for now. 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.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Elder Cook Visits Saints in Belo Horizonte Brazil; Some Musings About Temple Progress & Future Announcements

Hello again, everyone! It has been a big day for updates on the worldwide ministry of our apostles, and I have found yet another one. Elder Quentin L. Cook spent some time in Brazil recently. More specifically, he visited and held meetings with the Saints and missionaries in the city of Belo Horizonte. LDS Church News has shared this account of what he did during that trip. The article also features quotes from the members of the Brazil Area presidency, as well as Elder Cook's fellow apostle Elder Ulisses Soares, who served his mission  in the Belo Horizonte region.

With this report in mind, that brings up an interesting question. First, the background for why it came to mind: As some of you may recall my mentioning, Elder Ronald A. Rasband visited the Philippines Area of the Church earlier this year before General Conference. And while I would have to double check my facts in this regard, he may have spent some of that time in Cagayan de Oro, and, as we know, a temple was announced for that city during the April General Conference.

While writing the above paragraph, more than one question came to mind, so here they all are: Is it possible that, as part of Elder Cook's time in Belo Horizonte, he may have spent time scouting out potential locations for a temple there? Would the fact that a temple in that city would be significant and personal to his fellow apostle Elder Soares have any impact on how soon a temple might be built there?

And finally, does Elder Cook's visit and Elder Soares's connection to this city indicate in any way that a temple may be more imminent for Belo Horizonte than Salvador? As I mentioned, I am in the very preliminary stages of trying to gather data for my next series of posts on potential future temples, which I hope to start before the end of this month.

In preparing this post and the questions above, I looked back into the history of my posts on this blog, and it appears that I have had Belo Horizonte on my list of potential future temple locations for just about as long as I have been sharing my thoughts on future temple prospects. As we also know, temples have been announced between now and then for both Belem and Brasilia.\

One other thought about all of this: President Nelson has shown a willingness to be very proactive about moving the Church forward. We saw many things happen in his first General Conference as our Church president. In one weekend, he was able to call two new apostles, make the other changes in Church leadership, announce the combination of all Melchizedek Priesthood bearers into one Elders' Quorum, retire home and visiting teaching and implement ministering, and announce 7 temples, 1 of which he was prompted to announce the night before General Conference began.

All of thisdemonstrates that he knows how to get and receive revelation. He also is impressing on us as members the importance of the temple, since his first address as Church president to Church membership was made from a temple.

With that in mind, and coupled with the statement I have previously referenced from Elder Larry Y. Wilson (who said in late April 2017 that there was a list of 80 potential temple locations that were under consideration for an official announcement within the 15 years after he made that statement, this suggests that, for as long as President Nelson presides over the Church, one of his main priorities will be bringing temples to the people.

That said, I also know that there are now 19 temples that have not gone beyond being announced, and we have seen times in the past when temple announcements were temporarily suspended to allow the Church to clear the backlog. So it may be that no temples will be announced during the October 2018 General Conference.

But it is also true that within the next two years, all temples currently under construction are anticipated to be dedicated. And although getting to the mid-point of any given year without a temple groundbreaking is rare for the Church, I would anticipate that we will hear of at least one temple groundbreaking (for the Bangkok Thailand Temple) at some point in the near future, and that that groundbreaking will occur prior to the end of the year, whether or not any other groundbreakings are announced or take place by the end of this year. But whatever happens in that regard, 2019 and the years following may be full of temple groundbreakings.

So I imagine President Nelson will also do what he can to clear the backlog of announced temples, and that by the time all temples currently under construction are dedicated, others that currently have a groundbreaking pending will have had that occur and will be under construction. I am likewise confident that President Nelson continues to seek the Lord's will regarding temple locations and the timing within which those might be announced, which is why I include temple possibilities in every one of my General Conference predictions.

I continue to monitor all Church news and temple developments and will do my level best to pass word of them to you as I find out about them. 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.

Additional Church News Reported

Hello again, everyone! Within the last couple of hours, the Church News has shared a couple of other articles that I could not wait to pass along. So let's discuss them both now. As I may have previously mentioned, as part of his worldwide address on Sunday June 3, President Nelson issued a challenge to the youth of the Church to hold themselves to a 7-day fast from social media, or, as it has otherwise been termed, to "take a break from fake." The Church News shared feedback from the youth who took the challenge with these 10 responses on the difference that made.

On a personal note, when I first joined Facebook, I spent a great deal more time on that site than I do now. About a year or so ago, when my health began to be more of a problem, I determined that cutting back my time on social media would be appropriate. While I still check in periodically, I have found that I don't miss it very much, and that I have been able to spend time on more important things, not the least of which is keeping you, my readers, in the loop about the latest Church and temple news.

That is not to say that social media is not an important way to keep in touch, especially with those you may not see very often. And it has been an outlet for many of us to hear uplifting thoughts from our apostles who post regularly about their ministry and share insights into how we can become better people.

So social media has its' importance in its' proper place, but too much of anything is never a good thing. Just as the youth of the Church have been blessed by responding to the prophet's challenge and participating in their social media fasts, sometimes, it is good to take a step back from such things.

The subject of the apostles' posts on social media is an appropriate segue to the second and final subject which I wanted to cover in this post. In an exciting development, the Church News today noted that they would be doing a new series of articles focusing on each of the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and that these articles would include tributes to them from the other members of that Quorum. The first of those articles, published about 90 minutes ago, focuses on President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve.

With the knowledge that this new series will be published over the next little while, I continue to monitor all Church News developments and will pass those along as I receive word of them. 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.

Elder & Sister Renlund Speak to CES Instructors; Temple Updates Provided

Hello again, everyone! This post will cover two subjects, namely: the devotional for CES Instructors and some temple updates. First, as some of you may be aware, the Church holds an annual broadcast for those who teach seminary and institute and their spouses.

The speakers this year included Elder Dale G. Renlund and his wife, Ruth, Elder Kim B. Clark, General Authority Seventy and Commissioner of Church Education, and Chad Webb, director of Seminaries and Institutes.

As some of you may also be aware, one of Elder Renlund's many apostolic assignments is to serve on the Church Board of Education. It was therefore fitting that he and his wife participated in this broadcast. The Church News provided this summary of that devotional.

We now conclude with the temple updates I referenced. I have previously shared on numerous occasions my feeling that the Church could (and likely will) have at least 200 temples in operation by or before the day on which the Church marks its' bicentennial anniversary (which will occur on Saturday April 6, 2030). And I have also shared that this could happen whether or not an official goal is set to do so.

As of today, there are 11.81 years left until that day, which means that the Church would need to dedicate roughly 3.47 temples per year. As I also noted previously, there will only be 2 temples dedicated this year, which is below that average. But with 6 temples anticipated to be dedicated in 2019, and at least 3 that we know of (so far) that may be dedicated in 2020, by the time those are dedicated, the average number of temples that would need to be completed per year will likely go down quite a bit.

That said, let's talk about two temples which have had progress reported. We start with the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple. Recent information of which I have become aware notes that the exterior of that temple is nearing completion, and that a coat of white paint has been added to the temple's entry way.

I cannot say for certain that this will be the case, but I would imagine that the Church could potentially announce a dedication for that temple within the next four months or so, and I have offered my opinion recently that that could occur in mid-April 2019. It will be interesting to see what happens in that regard.

I also became aware of an update on the Arequipa Peru Temple. Recently obtained information shows that work on the temple's exterior is making steady progress. That temple is anticipated to be dedicated in early 2020. The interesting thing about this temple, the Rio de Janeiro Brazil & Winnipeg Manitoba Temple is that they all have a general completion estimate of early 2020. In some ways, the order in which they could be completed may be somewhat interchangeable.

To the best of my ability, I continue to monitor all Church news and temple developments and will pass those along to you all as I receive them. 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.