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Sunday, February 25, 2018

April 2018 General Conference Predictions Alterations: Part Nine--Updated List of Potential Future Temple Locations

Hello again, everyone! As I stated a few days ago, I have been hard at work on editing my list of potential future temple locations that could be announced in the near future. In fulfillment of the promise I gave late last week, I am posting right now with the latest updated copy of that list. Comments will continue to be accepted on these locations until the week or so before General Conference, when I will need to finalize this list. The list, along with the relevant notes, follows below. Fair warning, wading through it is not a task for the faint of heart.

So as not to disrupt the flow of that list, I will conclude now as I always do. 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.

Preliminary note on these locations: In a post I published on my blog on February 15, 2018, I set the background for my thoughts and observations about the timing of future temple announcements and shared my feelings that we may be entering an unprecedented era for temple announcements. In view of that consideration, after the personal research and feedback from others who commented on my blog, I divided the potential future locations on this list into two categories: those that are more likely to be announced in the near future (which are included in the list below) and those that will likely be announced at some point, but for which more of a waiting period may potentially be involved. The subject of where future temples may be built and how soon that might occur is close to my heart, and I will do my best to update my lists of such locations as that becomes necessary, including reprioritizing such sites once there is a more compelling case in their favor.[i]

Africa[ii] & Europe: Freetown Sierra Leone[iii]; Lagos Nigeria[iv]; Kumasi Ghana[v]; Budapest Hungary[vi]; Praia Cape Verde[vii]
Asia (including the Pacific and the Philippines): Auckland New Zealand[viii]; Port Moresby Papua New Guinea[ix]; Phomn Penh Cambodia[x]; Osaka Japan[xi]; Davao Philippines[xii]
Latin America (includes Central and South America, Brazil, and Mexico)[xiii]: Managua Nicaragua[xiv]; Puebla Mexico[xv]; Santa Cruz Bolivia[xvi]; San Pedro Sula Honduras[xvii]; Senahu Guatemala[xviii]; Neuquen Argentina[xix]; Antofagasta Chile[xx]; Belo Horizonte/Salvador Brazil[xxi]
United States[xxii]: Missoula Montana[xxiii]; Bentonville Arkansas[xxiv]; Herriman[xxv]/Layton[xxvi]/Tooele[xxvii] Utah; Richmond Virginia[xxviii]
Fort Worth Texas[xxix] Las Cruces New Mexico[xxx]; Elko Nevada[xxxi]; Flagstaff Arizona[xxxii];

Final Note: As with everything else I put together, these are no more than my own thoughts, feelings, and observations based on the research I have done and the reports I have received, which are just as imperfect and prone to fallibility as I myself am. I hope that is absolutely understood and accepted. No one can know the mind of the Lord relating to His Church except those authorized to receive revelation for the Church, and the prophet of the Church has the final say in approving such locations. While I am always gratified when my predictions turn out to be correct, I am even more appreciative of the many times developments do not take place as I project they will. At the end of the day, the Lord is the only one who can determine best how to further His work, and He manifests His will to His chosen prophet. Just wanted to end on that note.

[i]As part of my ongoing efforts to be more organized in the presentation of my thoughts regarding future temple locations, I determined that it would make the most sense to group the temples on this list in the same way the Church groups those Area Seventies serving throughout the world, with Africa and Europe in one group, Asia and the Pacific (including the Philippines) in another, Central and South America (including Brazil and Mexico) in another, and finally those in the United States. I should also probably note that while the Church divides its area seventies even further than that, the general grouping of these world areas seemed logical enough for my purposes. But because of this grouping, my next task was to try and determine in which order I should list these prospective locations. The order for which I have opted may not be perfect, and likely will not satisfy all who read about it, but it represents the best way in which I felt I could organize these locations.
[ii]The Church in Africa has experience consistent significant growth. In each of the last three times temples were announced in General Conference, the African continent got one new one. The growth in West Africa has reportedly been most significant. The LDS Church Growth Blog noted last year that, if current growth trends continued in the Church’s Africa West Area, the Church there could go from the 3 temples in any phase right now to as many as 13 in operation by 2030. With that in mind, it seems more than likely that many new temples will be announced to accommodate that extensive growth, and I have narrowed it down to the three most likely locations for the immediate future, and am keeping, as previously noted, another list for temples that may be possible in the future but may not perhaps be as imminent.
[iii]The LDS Church Growth Blog noted last year that Sierra Leone was the 6th in the top 10 countries that have the strongest Church presence but do not have a temple in any phase. And its’ Church presence is becoming ever more significant. Last year alone, 3 districts were upgraded to stakes in Sierra Leone, and that nation also saw 1 new stake and 1 new district created as well. It is obvious that Church growth is accelerating in Sierra Leone. I have had a temple for Freetown on my list for as long as I have been evaluating temple prospects, and I am more convinced than ever that a temple there is just a matter of time.
[iv]The Church in Nigeria has seen especially significant growth in recent years, and although there may be some who feel that Benin City may be a better location for Nigeria’s second temple, my research indicates that, at least initially, Lagos would likely be chosen. But the odds are very good that we could see temples in both cities at some point. With that said, in relation to Lagos, the one question is how imminent that possibility is. Based on the projection cited in the note above from the LDS Church Growth blog, if 13 temples are dedicated in West Africa by 2030, then it is very likely that Nigeria could get a second (and possibly also a third) temple between now and then, and that this will occur sooner rather than later.
[v]My research also has pointed to the idea that Ghana could get another temple as well, and Kumasi has emerged as the most likely prospective city for that honor. Again, the only question on my mind in that regard is how soon that might occur. I would hope sooner rather than later, but it will be interesting to see how justified that hope might be.
[vi]In the course of several discussions on potential future locations on my blog, the general consensus seemed to be that Budapest Hungary was the most likely European location to get a temple, which my subsequent research confirmed. And while I was also confident enough to include a temple for neighboring Austria on an earlier version of this list (primarily because my wife served her mission there), my study showed that Austrian growth is somewhat retrogressing, and that a temple in Budapest would likely serve Austria as well, as the Austrian capital (Vienna) is less than 200 miles from Budapest.
[vii]Cape Verde, which is close to Africa but falls under the Church’s Europe Area, ranks as the 10th of the top ten members with the strongest Church presence that does not have a temple. It therefore seems more likely than not that a temple could be built there in the near future, but it has also seemed more likely than not that a temple in Budapest will be announced first.
[viii]My research indicates that land has been held in reserve for a temple in Auckland for several years. So the main question seems to not be if a temple will be built there, but rather how soon that might occur. The Hamilton New Zealand Temple is currently scheduled for renovation beginning this July, and part of that process may very well be an expansion of that temple. If that occurs, that could potentially put off the announcement of a temple in Auckland. But for now, I feel confident enough in the prospect that I have it prioritized first on this list. If that changes, I will pass that along.
[ix]Before learning about the temple site in Auckland, I had discovered that land has been held in reserve for a while for a temple in the capital city of Papua New Guinea. And since the Saints in Papua New Guinea travel more than 10 times farther to reach their assigned temple (in Suva Fiji) than the 200-mile distance within which prophets have indicated each member should be from the nearest temple, a temple in this nation seems to be just a matter of time.
[x]At one point on this list, there was a cluster of large nations in Asia for which I had a potential temple location listed. But as I thought about those locations further, it made sense to put most of them on the list for the more distant future, except for the most likely possibility among those locations (a temple for Cambodia). With another temple announced for Bangkok Thailand, and with the fact that I put Singapore on this list as well (which I will be addressing in a subsequent note), that could break up the Hong Kong district rather nicely. If and when I see a reason to again include some of those other locations on a future list, I will be doing so.
[xi]The most recent temple built in Japan was dedicated in 2016, and it had been announced in October 2009. Since that was over 8 years ago, it seems entirely possible that another Japanese temple could be announced in the near future, and of the many possibilities, the city of Osaka has emerged from my research as the most likely location for Japan’s fourth temple. While that city is not the location of any of Japan’s 7 missions, the city does have three stakes within it, and the odds are very likely that, among the other cities that may potential be served by an Osaka temple would be the city of Kobe, which is 20.9 miles away, and which does have a mission within its’ boundaries.
[xii]In the discussions that took place on my blog, many possibilities were explored in terms of the most likely future locations for temples in the Philippines. A recent report confirmed the site location for the Urdaneta Philippines Temple, and the second Manila Philippines Temple has also had a site confirmed. So those two could both be under construction in the near future, perhaps within the next year or two. Regarding future temples in the Philippines, the one unknown id, of course, if the Church would announce any other temples while these two are in the construction process. We have seen other nations that have multiple temples in different phases at once, so it is not out of the question. With that said, if a temple is announced in the near future, Davao has emerged from my research as the most likely location for that honor. Cagayan de Oro is another possibility, but a temple in either city would serve the other as well, at least initially, since the two are roughly 162 miles apart. So I have opted to list Davao above. But it is plain that the Lord’s hand is over the Philippines Area, and that many more temples will likely be announced in this area in the near future.
[xiii]Just as the Church has seen widespread growth in Africa, there has been similar significant growth in Latin America, and particularly through Central and South America. Mexico is the one exception, where growth appears to be in somewhat of a stagnating state. But there is reason to believe that temples will continue to be announced in Latin America, especially since there are 5 under construction in that region currently, and since 4 of the last 12 temples announced between 2015-2017 have been in that region as well, we can clearly see the Lord’s hand in the growth of the Church and the spreading of temples in Latin America
[xiv]Of all the prospects for potential temples in Latin America, the possibility of one for Nicaragua is likely the most imminent possible locations. That is true for a few reasons. First, the LDS Church Growth blog ranks Nicaragua as the first of the top ten nations without a temple in any phase, and that has held true for at least the last 6.5 years. Additionally, the Church has reportedly held land in reserve for several years for such a temple. The Saints in Nicaragua currently travel 233.1 miles to get to their assigned temple in Tegucigalpa Honduras. And in January 2012, then-Elder Nelson publicly proposed a temple for Nicaragua. In light of all of this, it would not be surprising to find out that a Nicaraguan temple has been under consideration for several years, or that President Nelson might be inspired by the Lord to fulfill his own apostolic promise of a temple for the Nicaraguan Saints. A temple there has been on my list for as long as I have been sharing my thoughts on the subject of potential future temple locations, so it is my hope to see that occur sooner rather than later, and if not during this conference, then certainly within the next 2-3 years.
[xv]The last Mexican temple (for the city of Tijuana) was announced in October 2010, and dedicated in December 2015. Although Mexico has been experiencing some stagnated growth (such that congregations have been and will continue to be consolidated), I have long heard that Puebla is the most likely location for Mexico’s next temple, and my own study and comments from those familiar with Mexico verifies that. So I feel confident that a temple there is just a matter of time, and that there is justification to believe that will occur sooner rather than later.
[xvi]For Bolivian temples in the near future, I started out with the two most likely possibilities: Santa Cruz and La Paz. Both cities (and the surrounding regions) have experienced substantial growth since the dedication of the first Bolivian temple (Cochabamba), which occurred on the last day of April 2000. Of the two cities, I have tended to favor La Paz because a former bishop of my parent’s ward (who is also a very good friend) served his mission there, but as I studied more about the two cities, I realized that unless both are announced simultaneously, or unless the other is announced while the first is in another constructional phase, I had to look at the most likely possibility, and that study resulted in Santa Cruz making it to the final list. With that said, I would anticipate both cities will likely have a temple in the next 15 years or less.
[xvii]Honduras has experienced significant Church growth as well, especially since its’ first temple was dedicated in Tegucigalpa in March of 2013. Of the many places that could be selected for a second temple in that nation, the general consensus seems to be that San Pedro Sula is the most likely location for that honor, which my subsequent personal study has confirmed. I also believe that will occur sooner rather than later.
[xviii]Guatemala’s second temple (which was built in the city of Quetzeltenango) was announced in December 2006 and was dedicated 5 years later. And since that time, especially in the years within which I have been covering future temple possibilities, Guatemalan Church growth has been substantial enough for a third temple to be a real possibility. And of the many locations where such a temple could potentially be built, the next most likely possible location seems to be Senahu. And that could occur sooner rather than later.
[xix]The Church in Argentina has experienced significant growth as well, and with a temple last announced in that nation in October 2008 and dedicated almost seven years later (in May 2015), it has seemed very reasonable to believe that a third temple could be announced in the near future for Argentina. And when that occurs, my study (and feedback from others) points to Neuquen as being the most likely location for that honor. It is my belief that is likely to occur in the near future, and is more likely sooner rather than later.
[xx]The overwhelming consensus from my study and the comments on my blog is that Antofagasta will likely be the next Chilean city to get a temple. The only question is how soon that might occur. And that is difficult to know. That nation’s second temple (currently in the final stages of construction in Concepcion) is anticipated to be dedicated at some point during the second half of this year. But when that occurs, since the city of Antofagasta is closer to Santiago than it is to Concepcion, until a temple is built in Antofagasta, the Saints have a journey of more than 4 times longer than the goal that has been set by previous Church presidents (200 miles) to the Santiago temple. So in that regard, an Antofagasta Temple seems to be just a matter of time.
[xxi]Brazil has seen significant Church growth in recent years. Since 2016, two Brazilian Temples have begun full-scale efforts (Fortaleza (which experienced a 5-year delay between the time of its’ groundbreaking and when construction formally began) and Rio de Janeiro), and within that same time, two others have been announced (for the cities of Belem and Brasilia). So it is obvious that the Saints in Brazil are using the temples they have, and that many others might be needed. Of the dozen or so potential locations that could get a temple soon, Salvador and Belo Horizonte seem like they may be more imminent. And the two may be interchangeable in terms of that imminence. Some may say that the four temples in various stages might preclude any others being announced in the near future, but as we saw last April, Brasilia was announced even though Fortaleza, Rio de Janeiro, and Belem were still in various stages. So it seems entirely likely that either or both of the two locations could be announced before too much longer, and I have several other locations which I am watching as well that could also be announced in the near future.
[xxii]The United States has seen somewhat of a stagnation in terms of Church growth, with the exception of the “Mormon Corridor”, which takes in the states of Arizona, Idaho, Nevada and Utah. We have seen a reflection of growth within that corridor in the recent dedications of the temples in Tucson Arizona, Meridian Idaho, and Cedar City Utah, and the April 2017 announcement of new temples for Pocatello Idaho and Saratoga Springs Utah. But I have also found locations outside this area that may be ripe for a temple announcement, based either on a public proposal by a prophet or apostle, what I have heard and uncovered through research about land being held in reserve for other locations, the factor of which locations are more than 200 miles from their assigned temples, and which temple districts may need to split in the near future. So I have hope that many of these locations will have an announcement at some point in the near future, even if those announcements are not as imminent as some, myself included, might believe they should be.
[xxiii]This possibility is first on the list of those that may get an announcement in the near future within the US for two reasons. First, a comment on my blog confirmed that Elder Bednar had publicly proposed such a temple during a stake conference over which he presided, and second, I subsequently uncovered information that pointed to the idea that land has been held in reserve for such a temple for a while now. Based on these facts, it seems clear that an announcement will be made sooner rather than later, and of the many options, it seems this one may be more of an imminent possibility.
[xxiv]A good friend whose mission was in Bentonville Arkansas learned of my interest in potential future temple locations, and shared with me that, in following the developments of the Church in that city, he could confirm that land has been held in reserve for a temple there for a while now. My subsequent study confirmed that. Others have offered their opinion that Rogers may be a more likely location, but since the two are so close together, a temple in either city would serve the other. While I fully believe that those advancing the idea of a Rogers temple have valid reasons for doing so, I have felt it wiser to include Bentonville on my personal list.
[xxv]While this has yet to be officially confirmed by any Church President, my personal research points to the notion that the Southwest Salt Lake Valley Temple site referenced by President Hinckley is one that, at the time of the announcement, fell within the boundaries of Bluffdale city, although it now appears that land has since been transferred in its’ ownership to the city of Herriman. I also know that the site in question has since been the subject of at least one (and perhaps more than one) border dispute between Herriman and Bluffdale. President Hinckley made the announcement in 2005 that the site was being held in reserve for when it would be needed in the future. Since 13 years have come and gone between now and then, and since recent Church presidents have taken action to announce sites publicly proposed or referenced during their predecessor(s) presidencies, we could see the official location confirmed and an announcement made in the near future. Until it is officially confirmed or denied as the location, it seems wise to list Herriman.
[xxvi]Regardless of how soon the Southwest Salt Lake Valley location is confirmed and a temple is announced there, I have had my eyes on Layton for the last several years as a potential temple prospect, and some have said it could be the next Utah temple. So having one officially announced there seems more likely sooner rather than later.
[xxvii]Tooele may run a close third compared to Layton and Herriman in terms of its’ likely prospect as a Utah temple, but Utah has seen extensive enough growth that all three could be announced either simultaneously or in short order one after the other. It has felt wise to include all three on this list, and they may be announced in that order.
[xxviii]Regarding Virginia, I have heard from many that a temple for that state is just a matter of time, which my personal study has confirmed. With that said, I also wanted to note that there is a wide variety of opinions about the most likely location for such a temple. While there are several possible locations where a temple could be built in Virginia, the capital city makes the most sense of those options. And that temple will likely be announced sooner rather than later.
[xxix]In my discussions with others on potential future temples, I asked for thoughts on where the next temple in Texas might be built. Two cities emerged: El Paso and Fort Worth. Of the two, according to someone who lives within the Dallas Texas Temple district, the temple is kept busy enough and there is enough of a commute that a temple in Fort Worth was the more likely prospect. Based on that assertion, I have prioritized Fort Worth over El Paso, although I anticipate we will see temples in both cities in the near future. And I will keep my eye open for anything that would change that thinking, if neither gets a temple during this conference.
[xxx]Regarding the prospects of a temple in Las Cruces, as I noted above, some have offered the opinion that a temple in El Paso might be given priority. But if the assessment regarding Fort Worth’s prospective status as the next most likely location for a temple in Texas proves correct, then a temple in Las Cruces would also make a lot of sense, since it would serve the Saints in El Paso if they are unable to easily get to their currently assigned temple.
[xxxi]The general consensus from comments on my blog on the subject is that the next temple built in Nevada would either be in Henderson or Elko. After further research on my part, I have determined that an Elko temple may be more of a priority for the Church, if one is needed anywhere in Nevada in the near future.
[xxxii]Extensive study on my part has pointed to the notion that Arizona’s next temple will likely be built in Flagstaff, which seems to be a shared opinion with those who have commented on that prospect. The only question is how soon that might occur. In an interview done by Elder Wilson while the Tucson Arizona Temple was under construction, he noted that the dedication of that temple would have Arizona pretty well stocked for temples for the near future. I have felt confident enough to list it here, but would not in any way be surprised if such an announcement is delayed for a time.

Some Thoughts About Apostles' Assignments to World Areas

Hello again, everyone! I wanted to post some thoughts regarding the assignments of the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. First of all, I have heard (but have no personal knowledge of this) that shortly after the ordination of a new Church president, he assigns various areas of the world to the members of the Quorum of the Twelve. In some cases, that involves a mere extension of an assignment given by previous Church presidents, but in others, the Church president may be inspired to change it.

We have seen that occur recently. As we know, following the announcement of the new First Presidency in mid-January, it was announced that Elder Uchtdorf, in addition to chairing key Church committees, would also supervise the Europe and Europe East areas of the Church, assignments formerly held by Presidents Ballard and Nelson respectively.

I also know that at some point last year, I found information that indicated that then-Elder Oaks was supervising the Mexico Area, and if this article (which shares how Elder Andersen recently ministered to Mexican Saints impacted by an earthquake) is any indication, I feel safe in surmising that Elder Andersen may have been asked now to supervise the Mexico Area in President Oaks' place.

That would mean in turn that Elder Andersen, who last year had had some role in supervising the Philippines (and also perhaps the Pacific Area as well), no longer has that assignment. And wit my report earlier today of Elder Rasband's visit to the Philippines, it may be safe to assume that he now has the assignment to supervise at least the Philippines Area.

I am keeping my eyes on these developments, and if previous tradition holds, shortly after General Conference next April, following the announced changes in Church leadership and subsequent changes in area assignments, the biographies of our Church leaders will be updated to reflect the latest assignments, and I will bring the details of those changes to you all 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 Rasband's Philippines Tour Includes Visits to Temple Sites

Hello again, everyone! I became aware earlier today of a report that Elder Rasband, while on assignment in the Church's Philippines Area, has visited the site locations for the planned temples in the cities of Urdaneta and Alabang. What that means is that we now have confirmation of the official location for the Urdaneta temple site, which is just off the MacArthur Highway, to the south of the city of Urdaneta.

I have not been able to confirm this through official sources, but it seems safe to surmise that part of Elder Rasband's assignment may have been to look over both sites and to try to determine how close they might be to being ready for a groundbreaking. I am keeping my eyes open for more information on this, and will post any updates in that regard as I become aware of them. That said, it is great to have heard of this news, and I am grateful for the chance to pass it along to 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.